Roe: Don't force teachers to be armed

Hank Hayes • Mar 3, 2018 at 10:30 AM

KINGSPORT — Teachers shouldn’t be forced to be armed with weapons at school, U.S. Rep. Phil Roe told the Kingsport Kiwanis Club Friday.

President Trump’s idea has been to allow teachers to go armed as a safety measure in the wake of the recent deadly school shooting in South Florida.

When asked where he stands on that idea, Roe recalled the 2010 incident at Sullivan Central High School where a school resource officer had a standoff with a gunman until he was eventually killed by county law enforcement.

“She is a true hero,” Roe, R-Tenn., said of Carolyn Gudger, the SRO. “She walked in between the person and that gun. … As to what happened in Florida, I am a parent and grandparent. It’s unimaginable to me that would happen. … The school is the safest place where you should be in if you’re a child. … Teachers in Texas, right now, 20 percent of the teachers are trained and armed. It’s already going on. … The state of Tennessee will have to decide.”

Roe also addressed these questions:

What did you think of the validity of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assertion that Russia has nuclear weapons that can’t be tracked and can penetrate any defensive system?

“I haven’t been briefed on that,” Roe responded. “I can’t say. … I know Putin is running for re-election in two weeks. … I’m not going to say he doesn’t but I would be shocked. … Everything the Russians have said has probably been overblown a little bit. … Their military went into eastern Ukraine. They couldn’t take over Ukraine.”

Why can’t we initiate airstrikes in Syria?

“That is an incredibly complicated place in this world,” Roe said. “ … You have Shias and Sunnis (Muslims) and several others. You also have a bunch of Russians in there. … You don’t want to kill a bunch of them and kick off an international crisis. My suspicion is there are a lot of Russians around (Syrian President Bashar al-) Assad all the time. … It’s a humanitarian disaster.”

What’s being done about the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?

“The premise of the Affordable Care Act, I completely agree with, which is to lower cost and increase access,” Roe stressed. “ … What has happened in the 1st Congressional District, 19,000 people pay the penalty (to not have health insurance coverage). … Just over 20,000 people get any (insurance) subsidy at all. … It’s going to get worse. … What we’re trying to do is include Medicaid reform and ACA reform in a bill.”

What is Congress doing about the opioid crisis?

“It is a huge problem,” Roe said of the crisis. “When we have more people who die of a prescription drug overdose than car wrecks or gunshots together … that’s totally preventable. In the state of Tennessee in 2016, 1621 died. … We’ve got money in this current budget that we’ve done. … what I want to do this June is have a symposium (on opioid abuse). … We can’t jail our way out of this problem. We have to have treatment and law enforcement and retrain our doctors not to overprescribe opioids.”


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