(NEW YORK) — Educators around the U.S. are protesting proposals to arm teachers by posting with a hashtag, #ArmMeWith, to ask for more school counselors, books, snacks for hungry students and other things they say schools need rather than guns.
As of Saturday morning, the hashtag has been used about 96,700 times.
President Donald Trump called this week for arming teachers in the wake of the latest mass shooting at a school, the Feb. 14 massacre at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 students and staff.
The president said teachers with guns would offer better protection than a security guard who “doesn’t love the children.” He also said teachers would be able to respond more quickly than police.
The nation’s teachers’ unions swiftly rejected the idea.
“We don’t want to be, and would never have the expertise needed to be, sharpshooters. No amount of training can prepare an armed teacher to go up against an AR-15,” Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, said in a statement. “How would arming teachers even work? Would kindergarten teachers be carrying guns in holsters? Is every classroom now going to have a gun closet? Will it be locked? When you have seconds to act when you hear the code for an active shooter, is a teacher supposed to use those seconds getting her gun instead of getting her students to safety?”
Many teachers on social media appeared to agree, using the #ArmMeWith hashtag to oppose the notion of arming educators while highlighting basic resources that they suggest their schools lack.
A Twitter user whose profile said she is a Pittsburgh teacher posted a sign promising “to fight for my students and colleagues. Please “#armmewith the things I need.”
Another educator said “I would risk my life to save my students but I would never keep a concealed gun in my classroom.” Instead, this teacher asks for tissue and paper towels.
Another woman who identifies herself as a teacher tweeted, “#ArmMeWith my own voice. Educators should make decisions about education, not politicians.”
One Twitter user identified as a school counselor in San Francisco tweeted she needs lower ratios of counselors to students and better connections to therapists for “my anxious, suicidal & lost kids.”
One educator acknowledges a need for school security but said it should not come for her carrying a gun “around a preschooler.”
The movement is drawing the attention of some celebrities, such as singer Ricky Davila.
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