A survey on school safety shows teachers don't necessarily feel threatened on the job. But they do think more can be done.
The Capital Survey Research Center surveyed 699 teachers from across the state. Alabama teachers supported a wide range of proposals to help improve school safety.
[DOCUMENT: Alabama School Teacher Safety Survey (.pdf)]
"Better planning, better facilities, better security, armed security guards, but they don't support arming teachers or other administrators," said Gerald Johnson, Director of Capital Research Survey Center, which is the polling wing of the AEA. "There is a very clear distinction on what would make things better."
The issue of arming teachers reached the State House this year as Governor Robert Bentley vetoed a bill that would have allowed some teachers and staff in Franklin County to carry guns. The governor wanted more details about what kinds of training staffers would receive, and felt would create an unacceptable high risk situation.
"We put together legislation that would meet our needs in Franklin County as far as safety," said Rep. Johnny Morrow, D-Franklin County in an interview earlier this month. "Now here the governor is saying, "No! You can't do it? I am very frustrated and extremely upset that the governor has taken this position."
The debate underscores the survey results that found a divide between teachers in urban schools and rural schools when it came to supporting expanded security efforts.
"The more rural the school, the more concerned they were with strengthening the school and I think that stands to reason," Johnson said. "A rural school is out there isolated. There's no police force or law enforcement agency nearby."
One third of teachers reported they had experiences some sort of safety issue at the school. Most involved parental custody disputes and were more likely in large schools and large cities.
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