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By: BWST Staff
School board elections often draw little attention. Generally, only a few hundred voters make their way to the polls to decide who will represent them and their children on the board of elections.
Unfortunately, while today’s school board runoff election is unlikely to be much different, the potential outcomes could be profound.
Voters will choose today between Nicole Nixon, a Republican and staunch Trump supporter who ran unsuccessfully for a state house seat over the summer, and Stacey Woolley, a progressive parent and advocate who is running in her first election.
Of the many issues facing Tulsa schools, one unexpected one has recently taken center stage in the waning hours of the campaign: Guns.
In an interview Monday with Burt Mummolo from Tulsa’s Channel 8, Nixon – who touted her NRA endorsement during her state house campaign – stated when asked about allowing guns into local schools, “I think that a well trained teacher should have the right to defend their students.”
Stacey Woolley broke with Nixon on the issue, stating “I do not believe that the way to keep our children safe is by arming teachers. In my opinion, it is the exact opposite of the direction we should be going for our children’s safety.”
Training and arming teachers has been a recent policy push by the NRA in response to the rapid increase in school shootings nationwide. However, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, the National Association of School Resource Officers, the leadership of the Major City [police] Chief’s Association, and the US Department of Education have all denounced the idea.
Research shows that the presence of firearms around children increases the likelihood of accidental injury and death. In addition, multiple studies also suggest that arming teachers would come at a significant financial burden to already strained school districts.
While it is highly unlikely that Tulsa schools would adopt such a policy, regardless of who wins this election, it is notable that the choice of candidates has forced this issue to the forefront. Depending upon today’s outcome, our city could be into a heated debate about whether or not to spend time and resources putting firearms in the hands of our educators.
That decision, it seems, is in the hands of Tulsa’s District One voters.