Sarah Lerner, a teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who survived last week's mass shooting, issued a harsh rebuke of President Donald Trump's proposal to arm teachers. Lerner made her comments during an appearance on CNN.
"I have no desire to own a gun, carry a gun, shoot a gun, touch a gun. I don't think that my coming to school with a gun would have changed anything. I'm in Building 6, not Building 12, so if I had been on campus with a gun, there would have literally been nothing for me to do," she said.
When asked if she would have felt safer if she had had a gun, Lerner replied: "No, no, because I don't need to have a gun to keep me safe. I knew that the SWAT team, the FBI, Broward Sheriff's office, local police offices were here securing the campus and keeping us safe. That made me feel safe. If I had had a gun in my classroom with fifteen students, I wouldn't have used it. I didn't see the shooter. I heard the shots when I went outside, but having a gun would do me no good. If anything, if I had a gun on campus, it would have been locked in my closet, and if somebody had come in the room, in the time it would take me to get my keys and open the closet, I'd be dead."
Lerner also took aim at the president's assurances that only 20 percent of educators at any given school would be armed.
"The president said those of us willing to be armed would get some kind of a bonus. I'm not even given adequate money to buy supplies for my classroom, but now if I choose to carry a gun, a gun will be provided for me and I will be given a bonus?"
"I have no desire to own a gun, carry a gun, shoot a gun, touch a gun. I don't think that my coming to school with… https://t.co/2l7SxcScVy— CNN (@CNN)1519347264.0
She continued: "I would rather see all that money go to having more security personnel on my campus, giving me more money on my paycheck. I don't need a gun! Give me the money instead."
Stoneman Douglas teacher Sarah Lerner: "I'm not even given adequate money to buy supplies for my classroom, but now… https://t.co/egyuzwK1ks— CNN (@CNN)1519376482.0
Lerner is not the only one with these grievances. In response to the president's suggestion, English teachers Olivia Bertels and Brittany Wheaton coined the hashtag #ArmMeWith on Instagram, to call attention to more pertinent needs––like the need for more school supplies––while slamming the suggestion that arming teachers would actually keep schools safe.
“The vast majority of school personnel are uninterested in carrying a weapon into a building full of hundreds or thousands of children each day,” Bertels said. “Those desires are not being reflected in the tone-deaf suggestions being made by lawmakers as a solution to America’s gun problem.”
“Teachers already shoulder a huge burden when it comes to educating properly, due to lack of funding, support and resources and making sure their students are taken care of emotionally,” Wheaton told CNN.
Teachers around the nation responded.
Teachers have created a movement on instagram with #ArmMeWith and it’s beautiful 💗 https://t.co/qxZDyCuSJL— Sarah Merriam (@Sarah Merriam)1519178627.0
The day teachers are asked to carry guns in the classroom is the day I leave my dream job I’ve had since I was 16 y… https://t.co/meM7oakYRN— Lindsey Paull (@Lindsey Paull)1519178568.0
Arm me with a government that supports #PublicSchools. Arm me with common sense gun laws. Arm me with more mental h… https://t.co/RpKY9uau5z— Meg Rutledge (@Meg Rutledge)1519178476.0
I don’t need to be armed with a gun but rather #ArmMeWith •legislature that puts our children’s lives before your g… https://t.co/BzjlMOjgko— Natalie Flaten (@Natalie Flaten)1519219607.0
#ArmMeWith Better pay. Autonomy. A society that recognizes my fellow teachers and me as professionals instead of m… https://t.co/Yp3D9ygrJr— Love Teach (@Love Teach)1519309614.0
Journalist Jamil Smith also added his own thoughts to the debate, analyzing a report by Washington Post reporter Phillip Bump, who, Smith notes, "assesses the (financial) cost of a stupid idea."
“We’d essentially be adding 50 percent to the size of the military by mandating that more than a million people be… https://t.co/4hEZc4fsy0— Jamil Smith (@Jamil Smith)1519304612.0
Smith notes that arming teachers would cost more than $1 billion.
Want to arm some teachers in the vain hope that they will curtail a mass shooting in progress? @pbump reports that… https://t.co/foonIZ2S9O— Jamil Smith (@Jamil Smith)1519304715.0
Arming teachers, Smith said, only benefits the NRA, making Trump's listening session, which he held with several survivors of the Parkland shooting in attendance, little more than lip service.