Local school administrators discuss arming teachers

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — In 2019, 25 school shootings occurred. A school shooting may not have happened in southern West Virginia, but Eric Dillon with the Raleigh County Board of Education said schools in Raleigh County are taking precautions by having resource officers.

“We have nine secondary schools, five middle schools and four high schools. We have seven officers that serve those buildings, four from our Sheriff’s Department and three from our Beckley Police Department,” Dillon said. “They are housed in those secondary schools, however they do serve our Elementary Schools and their feeder schools as well.” 

Corporal Johnny Wall has been the school Resource Officer at Woodrow Wilson High School for eight years. He said all the officers in schools participate in the Prevention Resource Program and are trained in the three components: prevention, mentoring, and safety issues.

“The three of us that are assigned to the two middle schools and high school in the city of Beckley we all are certified West Virginia Law Enforcement officers,” Wall said. “We all are also certified ALICE instructors which is the program we use for emergency purposes.” 

Now, people question whether or not teachers should be allowed to carry guns in schools. Woodrow Wilson Principal Rockey Powell thinks schools should leave the gun carrying to the professionals.

“I think we have a resource officer, PRO officer, that does a very good job versus arming teachers,” Powell said. “I think we should have another or more PRO officers at the school. But to arm individuals here at school, I don’t think would be a very good idea.”

Wall said having resource officers in schools not only decreases the chance of school violence, but it also helps grow relationships with students and law enforcement.

“Try and help them hopefully if they are ever are in a situation they will make good decisions that will hopefully change their life and be able to get out and become productive citizens.,” Wall said.

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