header image

[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail


Today in
S.C.V. History
February 20
1906 - L.A. County accepts Mr. H.C. Register's bid to build (Old) Newhall Jail for $2,237 [story]
Old Newhall Jail

| Wednesday, Feb 13, 2019
A survey of educators from across the country by CSUN social work professor Lauren Willner found that teachers overwhelmingly object to arming teachers a way to deter school shootings. CSUN photo by iStock Moussa81.
A survey of educators from across the country by CSUN social work professor Lauren Willner found that teachers overwhelmingly object to arming teachers a way to deter school shootings. CSUN photo by iStock Moussa81.


In the year since a gunman opened fire on students, faculty and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and killed 17 people, politicians have suggested arming teachers as one way to deter school shootings. But is that what teachers want?

The answer is “no,” according to a survey of more than 2,900 current and former teachers across the country conducted in the weeks following the Parkland shooting by California State University, Northridge assistant professor of social work Lauren Willner.

Willner said she was inspired to conduct the survey when she noticed a glaring omission in the arguments people were making about putting guns in the classroom.

“No one was asking the teachers what they thought, what they wanted,” Willner said. “I looked and couldn’t find any scientifically collected data indicating what teachers wanted. I’m a researcher, so I decided to gather it myself.”

Willner noted that in 2018 alone, 23 school shootings took place — the highest number for any year on record.

“As often happens after a mass shooting, the national conversation turns to what we can do to stop them,” she said. “Opinions range from the need to restrict access to guns to a view that increased gun control is an infringement on someone’s Second Amendment rights, and everything in between, including ‘hardening’ schools by arming teachers and other staff as a deterrent to gun violence. Something was missing in the conversation — the opinions of those in the schools and classrooms. Not anymore.”

Willner asked educators teaching in academic environments from preschool to college what they thought about arming teachers. She sent her survey via email, social media and to group email lists and newsletters of several educational organizations.

She received responses from 2,926 educators from all 50 states and the territory of Guam. The states with the most respondents were California, with 11.4 percent; Washington, with 5.9 percent; New York, with 5.3 percent; Ohio, with 4.6 percent, and Pennsylvania, with 3.2 percent.

The sample was overwhelmingly female, reflecting the overall teacher population, which is disproportionately made up of women. High school teachers and professors in higher education settings made up approximately 60 percent of the respondents, and nearly half of the preschool through high school teachers identified their school as being in a suburban setting.

Only 16 percent of the respondents reported owning a gun, and 25 percent indicated having more than minimal experience using a firearm.

“The teachers surveyed were overwhelmingly against allowing educators to be armed in the classroom,” Willner said. “This finding held true when examined by grade, with the majority of the respondents indicating that they did not want guns in their schools. Even when you looked at it by region, there was not significant difference in the responses.”

Among teachers surveyed who were gun owners, just greater than 16 percent of the study sample, only 11.5 percent said they believed being armed while teaching should be part of a teacher’s responsibilities, she said.

“The overwhelming majority (95.3 percent) do not believe teachers should be carrying a gun in the classroom,” Willner said. “Only a small percentage (6.2 percent) indicated they were comfortable using a gun to stop an active shooter.”

When asked about the effectiveness of arming teachers as a means to prevent school-based gun violence, Willner said the majority of those surveyed did not believe doing so would prevent someone from entering a school with the intent to commit harm.

Conversely, she said, the majority of the participants believed that arming teachers would lead to unintended violence in schools, including mistakenly firing a gun during an active-shooter drill. Willner said 64 percent of the survey’s respondents believed overall school safety would be compromised if teachers were allowed to carry firearms in the classroom.

Willner noted that there is legislation in several states that includes funding for training teachers and other school staff in handling guns. She asked the survey’s respondents if they were interested in receiving such training. Just over 11 percent expressed an interest, and only 7.9 percent said they believed marksman training would provide them with adequate preparation for successfully handing a school-based active-shooter situation.

“Owning a gun and espousing a positive opinion regarding private-citizen gun ownership did positively affect the views participants held regarding this issue,” Willner said. “Still, only 30 percent of those who identified as gun owners were in favor of legislation to arm teachers in all or some circumstances. Moreover, of those strongly in favor of private-citizen gun ownership, almost all indicated being against any legislation to provide teachers with guns as a means to protect students.”

Willner is sharing the results of her survey with policymakers, educational organizations and others involved in the discussion about guns in schools. She is planning to expand the project with a mixed-methods follow-up study examining how teachers understand school-based violence and what they believe to be the solutions to the problem. She also is working on an academic journal article based on the findings of her survey.

“For too long this discussion has taken place without science-based data about what teachers think,” she said. “We now have data. Teachers are the ones in the classrooms, and their opinions should matter.”

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

1 Comment

  1. Byron says:

    What the teachers “want” should not be the determining factor.
    “What are best, safest practices for students and staff to respond to a deadly threat?” should govern the decision-making, not feelings nor fear of firearms.

    Any unarmed teacher cowering behind a desk while an armed gunman walks through his or her classroom, randomly killing students, wondering is he or she is next, probably would want to have had a firearm and training available instead of being a sitting duck and seeing children be murdered, unable to do a thing about it. That is cowardice.

    I don’t buy the “30 percent of those who identified as gun owners were in favor of legislation to arm teachers in all or some circumstances.” That figure completely contradicts all other data I have seen from across America.

    But again, polls and feelings should not rule the day. That gets people killed, as we have tragically seen over and over.

Leave a Comment

Monday, Feb 19, 2024
California State University, Northridge Vocal Jazz Director Erin Bentlage reached a huge milestone in her career when she took home a Grammy Award at the 66th annual show in Los Angeles on Feb. 4.
Friday, Feb 16, 2024
On Tuesday, Feb. 13, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced the Fulbright Top Producing Institutions for 2023-24, with California Institute of the Arts ranked as a top producer of student Fulbright recipients for master’s institutions.
Friday, Feb 16, 2024
Editor’s note: The Master’s University (previously Los Angeles Baptist College) is nearing its 100th year as an institution. As it approaches the milestone in 2027, this is the first in a series of stories about men and women used mightily by the Lord in the school's history.
Friday, Feb 16, 2024
Rows of tables took over California Institute of the Arts' Main Gallery on Tuesday, Feb. 13, with students from the programs in Experimental Animation and Character Animation weaving around them, eager to showcase their work to studios for Portfolio Day. 
Wednesday, Feb 14, 2024
Moderation is the key to sustaining healthy eating habits through the holiday season and into the new year, according to Brittany Allison, an assistant professor of food science at California State University, Northridge. 
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
California is experiencing an unusually high number of invasive fruit fly detections this season. The California Department of Food and Agricultural, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture and County Agricultural Commissioners, has initiated local regulatory measures to eradicate and prevent the statewide spread of Queensland Fruit Fly, Tau Fly, Mediterranean Fruit Fly and Oriental Fruit Fly.
SCV Residents Urged to Inspect Gardens, Don’t Move Fruit
An ocean water rain advisory for all Los Angeles County beaches is in effect Until Friday, Feb. 23 at 5 a.m.
Public Health Issues Ocean Water Quality Rain Advisory
The city of Santa Clarita’s Film Office released the list of 12 productions currently filming in the Santa Clarita Valley for the week of Monday, Feb. 19- Sunday, Feb. 25.
Feb. 19-25: 12 Productions Filming This Week in SCV
While Valentine’s Day may have passed, the spirit of love continues to flourish throughout February, especially here at Henry Mayo Hospital, where we're dedicated to celebrating matters of the heart in more ways than one! Beyond the chocolates and flowers, we're focusing on maintaining heart health for ourselves and our loved ones.
Marlee Lauffer | Celebrate Matters of the Heart
The city of Santa Clarita filed a stipulation on Friday, Feb. 16 with the county of Los Angeles to resolve the lawsuit against the county regarding Camp Scott, mutually agreeing that the county will comply with the California Environmental Quality Act review prior to authorizing any plan to use Camp Scott for any probation juvenile population.
City Resolves Camp Scott Lawsuit Against L.A. County
1906 - L.A. County accepts Mr. H.C. Register's bid to build (Old) Newhall Jail for $2,237 [story]
Old Newhall Jail
Four days in the pool have netted several program records and several NAIA national championship qualifiers at the Pacific Collegiate Swimming and Diving Conference Championships held in Monterey Park, Calif.
Mustangs Break Records, Net National Qualifiers at PCSC
The Master's University baseball team banged out three solo home runs, three doubles and a triple to get a 16-1 win over the Providence Christian Sea Beggars Saturday afternoon at Lou Herwaldt Stadium.
Mustangs Pummel Sea Beggars 16-1
The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency regular board meeting will be held Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 6 p.m., at the Rio Vista Water Treatment Plant boardroom, located at 27234 Bouquet Canyon Road in Santa Clarita.
Feb. 20: SCV Water Board Regular Meeting
The regular meeting of the William S. Hart Union High School District’s Governing Board will be held Wednesday, Feb. 21, beginning with closed session at 5:15 p.m., followed immediately by open session at 7 p.m.
Feb. 21: Hart District Board Scheduled to Discuss Possible Layoffs
The Santa Clarita Planning Commission will hold its regular meeting Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall.
Feb. 20: Santa Clarita Planning Commission Regular Meeting
As the seasons transition and spring begins to warm up our Valley, it’s the perfect time for residents to get outdoors and get active.
Ken Striplin | Spring Into Sports in Santa Clarita!
Valencia teen, Alessandro Concas, continues to prove that you are never too young to make a difference and inspire others.
Valencia Teen Announces Book Signing for Kids Sci-Fi Series
California State University, Northridge Vocal Jazz Director Erin Bentlage reached a huge milestone in her career when she took home a Grammy Award at the 66th annual show in Los Angeles on Feb. 4.
CSUN Vocal Jazz Director Takes Home Grammy
Ken and Joe's Powersports Dealership, which is located at 21618 Golden Triangle Road in Santa Clarita, is thrilled to announce a special Pet Adoption Event taking place on March 16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
March 16: Ken and Joe’s Powersports’ Pet Adoption Day
The California Highway Patrol, California Attorney General Rob Bonta and federal law enforcement agencies announced the arrest and filing of charges against the ringleader of an extensive organized retail crime operation spanning 21 counties, including Los Angeles County, involving an estimated $8 million in stolen beauty products.
CHP Announces Takedown of Organized Retail Crime Operation
1803 - Indigenous family members removed from Caamulus (Camulos) village, Piru area, are baptized at San Fernando Mission [record]
1955 - Actor and nightclub owner Ace Cain incorporates the Rocky Springs Country Club in Sand Canyon [story]
Ace Cain
1949 - Short-lived oil drilling operation on Newhall's Arcadia Street ends [story]
Arcadia Street rig
For over a decade, SCVi Charter School in Castaic has been known for its cutting-edge arts and aerospace programs.
New Grant Will Enable iLEAD, SCVi to Grow Aerospace Pathways
Raising the Curtain Foundation is hosting the ‘Masterclass Fundraiser and Performance – A Theatrical Journey Through Wicked,’ on Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23.
March 22-23: Wicked Masterclass Fundraiser, Performance
VENTURA — College of the Canyons played its way to victory at the first Western State Conference (WSC) tournament of the season hosted by Ventura College at River Ridge Golf Course on Monday. 
Cougars Victorious in WSC Opener
Six home runs, including a grand slam, left the yard, 29 runs were scored on 30 hits, but in the end it was a one-run game as The Master's University baseball team fell short to the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds 15-14 Thursday at Lou Herwaldt Stadium.
Mustangs Come Up Short in Slugfest
The 28th Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival makes a triumphant return in 2024 to William S. Hart Park (24151 Newhall Avenue) on Saturday, April 20 and Sunday, April 21, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Special Events Tickets for Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Now on Sale