At a legislative committee meeting today where state representative Andy Holt, often the purveyor of terrible ideas, advocated for allowing Tennessee teachers to carry concealed weapons at school, Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn seemed unable or unwilling to stand for teachers. The Tennessean has more on how Penny dropped the ball:
Ahead of the 2020 legislative session, at least one lawmaker is already expressing interest in allowing teachers to carry guns in schools.
It’s a measure some Republican lawmakers have pushed unsuccessfully in recent years, and one that Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn on Monday declined to give a position on.
“I’m not in a place to comment on that at this time,” Schwinn said after a House budget hearing when asked whether she supported the notion of arming public school teachers. “We’re focusing on the budget hearing.”
Apparently, the issue of allowing guns in schools was too much to handle for the former educator who also noted many times during the legislative hearing that she’s also a parent.
Does Schwinn want teachers at the schools her children attend to be armed? Does she, someone with classroom experience, think it’s wise to arm teachers?
It seems she doesn’t know. Or, well, she’s just unwilling to challenge a bully and blowhard like Holt, known more for his obnoxious cowbell on the House floor than for his legislative efficacy.
Schwinn is running a department that is in disarray and now seems unable (unwilling) to stand up for Tennessee teachers and students when they need it most.
All of this raises yet another question: What does Governor Bill Lee think? Is the HVAC mogul a supporter of arming teachers? Does he support Holt’s idea? Will he continue to back a Commissioner of Education who can’t be bothered to offer support for teachers on a pretty straightforward question?
For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport