A Bill That Opens the Door to Arming School Employees Passes the House

Dear Friends,

Yesterday, I voted against Senate Bill 621, a bill that deals specifically with arming school security guards but, many feel, represents a dangerous loosening of the existing restrictions on who can be armed in schools, opening the door for schools to allow the arming of all employees in the future.

Unfortunately, I was in the minority. The bill passed the House along mostly partisan lines. It is now headed to the governor’s desk.

Prior to joining the legislature in 2013, I taught for 35 years in public schools in Abington and Lower Merion school districts. I know teachers, students and schools, and I consider the idea of arming teachers — especially under the guise of keeping our public schools safe for the students and the educators who attend them — an alarming and even counterproductive idea.

There is no research to support the idea that more guns in schools will save more lives. A far better approach: Provide our public schools with the funding they need to ensure that every student in the commonwealth has access to school counselors and mental health professionals who are actually in the best position to keep students physically, emotionally and psychologically safe.

Yes, we need to make our schools and our society safer. But the hardening of schools and the proliferation of guns in our country will not do that. In fact, I fear, it will make our children and our society far less safe.

Sincerely,

Steve McCarter
Pennsylvania State Representative
Serving Cheltenham Township, Springfield Township and Jenkintown Borough