Arming Pakistan’s teachers to protect students

(CNN) – After a deadly attack at a school in Pakistan last month teachers with permits are bringing their guns to school.

With government security forces stretched thin, the principal at this nearby school has dramatically ramped up security.

A higher wall topped with barbed wire, more armed guards, surveillance cameras and that’s not all.  He’s now keeping a gun in his desk.

Teachers who have gun licenses are now allowed to bring them to school.  Principal Saeed says seeing their teachers carrying guns makes the students feel safer.

These students think of their teachers as fathers, he says. Knowing that their teacher has a gun in the class helps them relax, knowing that their teacher can protect them.

Firearms are not uncommon in this part of Pakistan but some critics say it sends the wrong message.

Faisal Mukhtar, SSP coordination Peshawar said, “If teachers take guns into classroom it glorifies this deadly weapon in the eyes of young kids, in the future it could inspire these kids to seek out guns misuse them and cause more tragedies to take place.”

Police walk me through a firearms seminar they offer to teachers, many who have never picked up a gun before, but who want to protect themselves and their students.

“If the terrorist knows someone is firing from the inside, it buys time, he said, allowing the damage to be limited, before the police arrive,” Mukhtar continued.

This is the practice range  for teachers who want to carry guns in the classroom here in Peshawar receive basic training and with 65,000 police officers responsible for security across the entire province, let alone in its 35,000 government-run schools, there’s simply not enough manpower  to provide adequate security to schools on the front line of a country at war.

A threat that Pakistan’s teachers and students are trying to counter in any way they can.

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