Nearly three-quarters of educators oppose President Donald Trump’s push to arm school staff, and a clear majority also say working with armed school personnel would make them feel less safe, according to a poll of National Education Association members released Tuesday.
In addition, 82 percent of respondents said they would not carry a gun to school even if they had received firearms training and were allowed to do so.
The poll, conducted March 1-5 by GBA Strategies, surveyed 1,000 NEA members who work in schools, using both cell phones and land lines. The margin of error is 3 percentage points. The poll’s finding that most NEA members dislike the idea of arming school employees matches the message from NEA President Lily Eskelsen García, who has blasted the Trump administration’s support for states that choose to arm educators. (You can watch a video of García discussing the idea on Monday at the top of the blog post.)
“Our teachers need more books, art and music programs, nurses and school counselors; they do not need more guns in their classrooms,” García said in a statement accompanying the poll results.
The push by the administration is part of the president’s plan to address school safety that includes a federal task force—led by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos—and support for the STOP School Violence Act.
Among the poll’s prominent findings:
- 64 percent of those surveyed said they would feel less safe if they worked with armed fellow school employees, while 23 percent said they would feel safer. And 64 percent said they would feel less safe if fellow employees were allowed to carry guns at school, while 25 percent said they would feel safer. (The respondents were split into two groups of 500 in order to use different wording for questions on the same issue.)
- 60 percent said they were either very or somewhat worried that there could be a “mass shooting at your school.” More specifically, 43 percent of those surveyed said they were “somewhat worried” about such an incident.
- 74 percent said they opposed arming teachers and other school employees if they were licensed and trained, while 22 percent said they looked favorably on the idea.
- And 69 percent said they opposed allowing teachers who are licensed and trained to carry guns, while 27 percent said they looked favorably on the idea.
Some schools already allow trained employees to carry firearms for school security. It’s also worth noting that those surveyed expressed very unfavorable views of Trump, DeVos, and the National Rifle Association. Read the full poll results for more details on those findings.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.