Since the murders at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland, Florida, there has been a great debate going on about whether or not teachers and administrators should be armed or, at least, have that option. There are a number of states that do allow it. Moreover, there are fantastic programs like FASTER Saves Lives in Ohio and Colorado that will actually train faculty and administrators in violence response for free.
The North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction is Mark Johnson. He is a Republican from Winston-Salem who had served on the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Board of Education prior to running for this office.
Johnson posted on Twitter his position on arming North Carolina’s teachers.
There are many conversations surrounding school safety happening in our state. Below is my statement on arming teachers in NC’s public schools: pic.twitter.com/uqLd7Wbnk0
— NC Sup. Mark Johnson (@MarkRJohnsonNC) February 26, 2018
As the Raleigh News and Observer points out about the tweet above, Johnson wants firearms on campus restricted to “these trained, uniformed law-enforcement professionals who courageously choose a career protecting citizens from violent threats.” If the armed Broward County Sheriff’s Department school resource officer had acted as he should have to save student lives, then perhaps I wouldn’t have so much trouble with this statement.
The real trouble I have with Johnson’s statement against arming teachers is that I suspect he is dancing to the tune of one of his largest campaign donors. On December 16, 2015, Johnson’s campaign committee received a check for $5,100 from none other than Michael Bloomberg. Ten days later, Bloomberg’s daughter Emma made an additional $100 donation to Johnson’s campaign for a total of $5,200 from the Bloomberg family. Having scanned all his financial disclosure reports, Johnson only had three or four other donors who each gave $5,100.
As I wrote back in March 2016, seeing such a significant donation from Michael Bloomberg to a candidate for a Council of State office in North Carolina made me feel wary. It didn’t make sense back then but it certainly makes sense now.
So the question for Mark Johnson is $5,200 the going rate for putting the school children of North Carolina at risk?