Students say more guns, police officers on campus is not the answer
PHOENIX – Dozens of students from across the Valley marched through downtown Phoenix on Friday to say more guns and police officers on campus is not the answer to prevent more school shootings.
Instead, they believe more resources, such as support services and school counselors, are needed instead.
“I feel like if the students that shot up schools, if they had help before, this wouldn’t even have happened,” Milagros Renteria, a sophomore at South Mountain High School, said referring to school shootings. “Their mindset wouldn’t be sent to hurting other people.”
Renteria said she also opposes having more police officers on campus, because it could lead to students being criminalized for minor misbehaviors on campus.
She was among the high school and college students who marched about half a mile from Arizona State University’s Mercado campus to the Civic Space Park in downtown Phoenix on Friday. They’re part of various groups, including ASU MEChA and Puente Arizona.
The demonstration followed similar marches and walkouts at a handful of schools across the Valley this week, with similar protests planned for the coming weeks.
The protests are in response to the high school shooting in Florida that left 17 students and faculty members dead.
After the Florida shooting, there have been renewed calls for teachers to carry guns on campus to protect students.
Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association, told KTAR News 92.3’s Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes this week he has heard some teachers say they would quit if they were required to carry guns.
He said it should be seen as a last resort.
“The idea of teachers carrying a firearm is an idea born of frustration,” Thomas said. “It is where you’re throwing your hands up in the air and saying, ‘Well, we can’t do anything else.’”
Renteria said she also doesn’t think arming teachers is the answer to prevent more school shootings.
“It wouldn’t make me feel less threatened if a teacher had a gun,” she said. “I go to school to get an education, not to feel scared.”