Parents in Oklahoma want to know if their children’s teachers are packing heat but the state legislature wants to keep that information a secret.
Legislation that will keep the information secret by exempting it from public records requests has now passed through the House and is moving through the state Senate.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jeff Coody (R), says secrecy is for the safety of the armed personnel.
But Rep. Jason Dunnington (D) thinks parents have a right to know. “I voted against this bill as a parent with children in the Oklahoma public school system,” he told ThinkProgress. “If a teacher has firearms in the classroom, parents should be able to know who that is. What if the teacher is a notorious gun lover or mentally unqualified?”
Teachers who carry guns will be required to undergo training and gain approval from the Board of Education, but none of that information will be accessible to the public if this bill is signed into law.
Aside from the obvious safety concerns many parents have, it seems to me this will also effectively blacklist a small portion of the state’s budget for education. Schools can pay for the training and certification of their teachers to carry guns but that information won’t be available.
Rep. Coody has implied that making the information available would make the teachers a target, but that seems like quite a contradiction to me. If the presence of guns alone is suppose to ward off any would-be attackers by eliminating “gun-free zones,” shouldn’t that information be public? Shouldn’t it be advertised? How else will the evildoers know that it’s not a so-called “gun-free zone?”