Professional Educators Of Tennessee Support Protecting Our Children

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Re:  Roy Exum:  Yes, Teachers Should Carry

I read the article by Roy Exum Yes, Teachers Should Carry and could not let his misstatements and inaccuracies pass without a response.  I tried to contact him several times via email and Facebook and got no response.  I even left him my telephone number. Obviously he must be too busy to give me a call.      

Exum wrote: “Two trade groups for teachers, the National Education Association and the Professional Educators of Tennessee, are solidly against the proposed legislation. Both groups are known to be quite liberal (read “beard strokers”) and appear oblivious to the fact that more “legal guns” were just registered to Americans in December than in any other month in the country’s history.” 

We consider our position a pragmatic solution to the issue, and have taken the lead in speaking out on the issue on behalf of educators.  First and foremost, we want the decision left to the local education agency (school district).  We oppose the state prohibiting teachers from carrying guns or for that matter mandating that they carry arms.  We support the very effective SRO Program and hope it will be expanded into every school.  We support increased safety measures from bulletproof glass when feasible to safer school design in the future. We think locks on classroom doors are a good thing.  School entry points need to be secured.  We support every option that makes schools safe for students and school employees.  We didn’t get in this position overnight and there will be no quick fixes either.   

If that position makes Professional Educators of Tennessee a liberal organization, it certainly will be news to people across the state.  But it will be a label we embrace if it saves the life of even one child or school employee.  

However, I am perplexed at how Roy Exum reached that position as he never once talked to anyone in our organization or looked at our position.  I can only assume Exum read the headlines in another newspaper, which then clearly spelled out our well-articulated position of leaving the decision in the hands of the local school district as well as the other talking points.  

I am not sure what a “beard stroker” is, but it sounds like it has a dirty connotation.  Additionally, I am registered to carry a handgun in this state and I am a former United States Marine.  Growing up in Bradley County, I guess I probably know as much about guns as you can read in a book on Lookout Mountain.  Mr. Exum, I expected more from you since you have a journalistic background.   I was severely disappointed.  

J. C. Bowman
Executive Director
Professional Educators of Tennessee

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