NewsEducation

Actions

Omaha teachers say they'll quit if they have to be armed with guns

'Teachers have enough on their plates already'
Posted at 11:16 AM, May 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-29 13:57:05-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — 11 years ago, Millard South High School experienced a shooting. A recently suspended student killed an assistant principal and critically injured the principal.

Tuesday's shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas took Tim Royers, a former Millard West teacher and current President of the Millard Education Association right back to 2011.

"We all had to go through that thought process every teacher has of 'Is this the moment I have to choose between going home and protecting kids?' That was 11 years ago. There’s obviously been a long horrifying list of schools that have dealt with the same thing and it just all comes flooding back that it’s unfortunate that yet another school has to deal with the same tragedy," said Royers.

He says training is now common. Lockdown procedures are reviewed and practiced every year. School infrastructure and daily procedures are also made with safety in mind, Royers said much of it changing within the past decade.

"We’ve passed bond issues. We’ve spent millions to update our schools (to) make them more safe and secure. You need your employee badge to get in. It’s not just a random whoever can get in. You have to have a badge or you have to buzz the office. A lot of the buildings now, you have to get through two doors. ... In my classrooms at West you lock from the interior now so you don’t even have to go out with a key," Royer said.

While these measures make a school feel safer, Royers said they can also be a burden to teachers and students.

"The challenge is on the day-to-day basis you have that battle between maintaining the security protocols and just making it so that you can efficiently do what you need to do with everything else. Just letting kids go to the bathroom, then having to unlock every single time. Those kinds of things and that’s hard for teachers because you don’t want to compromise your safety, but at the same time, we’re not there to worry about whether we’re safe. We’re there to worry about serving our kids," Royers said.

A safety measure many suggest following school shootings is arming teachers, believing it will curb these incidents and allow for a faster response time.

"Teachers don’t want it. Teachers have openly said they’ll leave the profession and frankly we’re kind of at a loss for why people think that’s a solution. There was an armed resource officer in Texas, that didn’t stop what happened. There were armed resource officers in other school shootings. The idea that putting more arms into a building is the solution the evidence doesn’t support that," said Royers.

Web Extra: Omaha teachers say they'll quit if they have to be armed with guns