The state’s largest teachers’ union says more guns aren’t the answer. The head of the Illinois State Rifle Association, Richard Pearson, is quoted as saying, “had there been a teacher who was armed,” the Connecticut school massacre would not have happened. He’s suggesting legislation to allow school boards to authorize principals, teachers, and even janitors to carry firearms.
“I definitely do not think it’s a good idea,” says Cinda Klickna, president of the Illinois Education Association. “I think it’s ludicrous. We need fewer guns, not more.” Financially strapped school districts are struggling with keeping the resources they have, let alone adding new ones. Klickna says at Normal Community High School, where a student fired a gun in September, “they have put some provisions in place; it was very costly. … I would much rather make sure that we have the personnel in place so that nothing like that is going to happen.” Klickna says there is heightened awareness everywhere these days, but, on the whole, schools remain safe.