SPRINGFIELD-The state's largest teachers union Tuesday ridiculed an idea floated by the head of an Illinois gun-rights group to allow educators to carry weapons to makes schools safer and perhaps prevent a Newtown massacre from happening here.
"It's ridiculous to think bringing guns into a school or classroom would somehow make that area safer," said Charlie McBarron, a spokesman for the Illinois Education Association. "It's hard to understand how a sane person could make that serious suggestion."
On Monday, the head of the Illinois State Rifle Association said he would favor legislation that would permit school boards to authorize principals, teachers and even custodial employees to carry weapons in the classroom if they underwent training.
Richard Pearson, the group's executive director, told the Chicago Sun-Times that all Illinois schools should have an armed security guard at a minimum and that arming school staff might have stopped the Connecticut shootings.
"Had there been a teacher who was armed, this wouldn't have happened," Pearson said.
But McBarron said it's vital to ensure that schools are secure, and that means no tolerance for drugs or guns of any kind.
"Schools are a safe place. Bringing weapons into school would make them less so," McBarron said. "To suggest otherwise is disingenuous."