Letter to the Editor: Qualified, trained teachers should be armed


Sunday, February 25, 2018

I would like to respond to the Associated Press article “Lawmaker: Teachers Should Have Guns” that appeared in the Feb. 17 edition of the Rocky Mount Telegram.

I was a high school teacher in Martin and Edgecombe counties for 18 years. I also have my concealed carry license and have undertaken private training in the safe and effective use of handguns. I support Senators Ron Rabin and Larry Pittman in their desire to address the topic of arming teachers. This is why.

As a teacher, I was charged with the education and protection of children under my care. In recent years, in response to potential scenarios of armed perpetrators on campus, I and all school staff and students would participate in practice lock-downs. This involved turning the lights out in the class, moving students away from door and windows where they could be seen, locking the door, and “hiding” to minimize exposure to a potential attacker.

During one of these practices, one of my students asked me, “Ms. West-Brake, what would you do if someone broke the glass and tried to get in to get us?” You can imagine my unspoken frustration. I am trained with a gun to protect myself and others, and I was not allowed have it on campus. What did I have in the classroom? Unlike other teachers, I did actually have a weapon: a large wooden staff that I used as a prop to teach British Lit. And I knew how to use it, because I have had martial arts training. So my response was: “I’d break his hand or whatever part of his body that I saw coming in.”

Most teachers don’t have martial arts training, or even sticks. Most teachers and their students are sitting ducks if there is an intruder. And there is not always going to be time to wait for law enforcement or the school resource officer.

So yes, I think QUALIFIED, TRAINED and WILLING teachers should be armed. If your child was at risk, what kind of teacher would you want him or her to have?


Rocky Mount