Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial candidates open to arming teachers
By Christen Smith
Three candidates vying for the Pennsylvania Republican party’s nomination in this year’s gubernatorial race expressed support for arming school teachers during a televised debate last week.
GOP state Sen. Scott Wagner, lawyer Laura Ellsworth and former health care systems consultant and Army veteran Paul Mango detailed their respective positions on the controversial policy proposal floated at both state and federal levels as a defense against school shootings.
“I think every school district should develop a security plan that meets the threats and the needs of that local school district,” Mango said. “If that includes arming the teachers, that’s up to them, not the state.”
Wagner said teachers “with extensive training” deserve the ability to carry firearms on school grounds. He and 27 other state senators approved a measure in June allowing school districts to develop individual weapons policies for teachers and staff. The state House Education Committee will consider Senate Bill 383 and other proposals to ensure school safety at hearing scheduled for March 15.
“With my plan as governor, we will have armed, trained security officers in schools around the state,” Wagner said.
Ellsworth said she supported arming teachers, so long as it wasn’t a requirement. “But if you have a teacher who requests permission and