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Wis. lawmaker wants teachers to carry guns

He cites Israel, Thailand; school official says problems are not that bad

NBC VIDEO
Should teachers be armed?
Wisconsin state Rep. Frank Lasee, worried about a recent string of deadly school shootings, has suggested arming school personnel as a safety measure and a deterrent. WGBA-TV's Kyler Burgi reports on the proposal and reactions to it.
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MADISON, Wis. - In the wake of school shootings in Wisconsin, Colorado and Pennsylvania during the last two weeks, a state legislator says he plans to introduce legislation that would allow teachers, principals, administrators and other school personnel to carry concealed weapons.

Rep. Frank Lasee, a Republican, said Wednesday that, while his idea may not be politically correct, it has worked effectively in other countries.

"To make our schools safe for our students to learn, all options should be on the table," he said. "Israel and Thailand have well-trained teachers carrying weapons and keeping their children safe from harm. It can work in Wisconsin."

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In Thailand, where officials have been waging a bloody fight with Muslim separatists for the last two years, some teachers carry weapons for self defense as they are viewed as part of the government. In Israel, teachers are not allowed to carry weapons in the school, but security guards at the entrances are armed.

Lasee stressed that the measure would hinge on school staff members getting strict training on the use of the weapons. He also acknowledged he would have to work around a federal law that bans guns on school grounds.

The director of school safety for Milwaukee Public Schools, Pete Pochowski, expressed opposition to Lasee's proposal.

"Statistically, the safest place for a child to be is in school," Pochowski said. "We have problems in our schools, but not to the point where we need to arm our teachers and principals."

Children in countries such as Israel and Thailand are far more vulnerable to daily violence than students in America, he said.

"In the country we live in, we have a lot of freedom," Pochowski said, "and we have to expose ourselves to some danger to keep that."

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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