A new survey by the American Federation of Teachers Texas shows 77 percent of school employees do not want to be armed or expected to intercept a gunman.
The recent survey of 5,100 school employees provides plenty of pushback for lawmakers like Sen. Ted Cruz that have proposed arming teachers in the wake of the Uvalde mass school shooting.
“We knew from so many conversations in the past, it was absolutely a nonstarter with our members and frankly most educators across the state of Texas,” said Zeph Capo, a public school science teacher and president of Texas AFT.
The same survey found 90 percent of school employees are worried about a shooting happening at their school, and 42 percent said the Uvalde shooting may affect their decision to come back to school in the fall. The survey was conducted days after the Uvalde shooting.
“When 90 percent of school employees say they’re worried about a shooting at their own schools, that’s an important issue for us to be involved in,” said Nicole Hill, lead digital organizer with Texas AFT.
Katrina Rasmussen, a public school teacher in Dallas said she has had multiple incidents of gunfire at her campus this year. She said legislators have failed to act as classrooms have become warzones.
“If our interventions hinge on a teacher gunning down an armed intruder from within the classroom, we have already failed,” Rasmussen said.
Among all Texans (not just teachers or public school employees) the poll found:
- 96 percent agree that the legislature should invest in mental health resources and building updates.
- 87 percent support comprehensive background checks and red-flag laws.
- 85 percent support raising the minimum age for legal gun purchases to 21.
- 75 percent support a ban on assault weapons.
And among teachers specifically, the same survey questions showed more enthusiastic support for the same measures:
- 99 percent support comprehensive background checks and 98 percent support red-flag laws.
- 96 percent support raising the minimum age for legal gun purchases to 21.
- 83 percent support a ban on assault weapons.
Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at email@example.com