Opinion: Should teachers be armed?

by Kassie Boyd and Hannah Nicholson, news editor and opinion editor


Kassie boyd, news editor (left) and Hannah Nicholson, opinion editor (right)

Following the school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, there is a lot of debate on how to prevent and protect students from future shootings. One of the most controversial methods, supported by President Donald Trump, is arming teachers with guns. Many of those who do not support this method do so due to concerns for student safety.

Guns are dangerous; this is a fact. Why would we want more weapons inside a building full of children and in the hands of adults whose sole purpose is to educate their students?

The risk of human error is too high. According to the New York Times, a firearms discharge report released by the NYPD in 2006 revealed that only 103 of 364 bullets fired intentionally by officers, with no return fire, hit their target. How can we expect teachers to neutralize a threat in a high stress environment when professional and competent law enforcement officers often can’t?  

According to the Center for Education Reform, students outnumber teachers 16 to one. A group of students, or even a single one, could overpower a teacher. The weapon has the potential to end up back in the hands of the student.

Besides the concern that a student could do harm with a gun, we must consider the possibility of a teacher using the weapon against the children. No one wants to consider that possibility, but teachers aren’t exempt from being affected by mental illness. Financial, family, and job stressors can create a molotov cocktail of emotions that could have deadly potential.

In addition, many teachers are uncomfortable with being armed. No one goes into the field of education thinking that one day they might have to take a life. A teacher’s job is to teach. “I personally would not want to carry a firearm in school. I wouldn’t want to have that responsibility,” said art teacher Heather Papinchak. “I could not take down a shooter.” Teachers have lives; they have families and friends that want them to come home safely every night just like the students.

Multiple teachers at Saegertown disagree with the movement to arm teachers.  “I don’t believe that any teacher should be armed at school,” said English teacher Bill Hetrick. “There’s lots of reasons. Eighteen percent of bullets fired from police officers [during a gunfight where a perpetrator is shooting back] actually hit their target, I can’t imagine teachers having that. It creates much more of a risk than a benefit.”

The truth is that many public school across America are dangerously under-resourced. Kids often do not have regular access to guidance counselors, nurses, or trained professionals who could help them with issues going on in and outside of school. Classes are too big for teachers to form personal relationships with students. Proper materials and guidance are an essential part of maintaining a school’s healthy environment, far more than giving teachers firearms and ammunition. “Arm me with books, with supplies, with resources,” Mr. Hetrick said.

Saegertown students and staff participate in National School Walkout

Here are the full remarks from this morning’s National School Walkout at Saegertown:

Thank you all for coming. For the next 17 minutes we will be honoring the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting that took place one month ago today. This is about unity and joining together as a community to show our support for Parkland and the families who lost their loved ones as well as taking a stand against school shootings. Our event is in no way motivated by gun control, but led to commemorate the students and staff who so tragically lost their lives on February 14. We ask for your respect during this time of grief and remembrance. We request that you remain silent for the time we are here together and take this time to reflect on the idea that schools should be safe places for all of us to learn and grow as people and a community.

  1. a loved and respected member of Parkland’s travel soccer team.

  2. a geography teacher and camp counselor in his spare time.

  3. known for his kindness and humor in the Parkland community.

  4. a talented swimmer who planned to attend the University of Indianapolis in the fall.

  5. an assistant football coach at Stoneman Douglas. He was known for his selflessness and generosity.

  6. loved by her community, especially by her mother, father, and brother.

  7. the school’s athletic director and wrestling coach. He was a veteran who served in Iraq.

  8. the youngest in his family and will be remembered by his constant happiness and optimism.

  9. a member of the Drake School of Irish Dance and was always smiling.

  10. a member of the winter guard on the school’s marching band and a gifted artist.

  11. enjoyed football, basketball, and spending time with his girlfriend.

  12. vibrant and determined, and she loved to serve her community.

  13. an energetic young lady who planned to attend Lynn University in the fall.

  14. smart, kind hearted, and thoughtful. She brought the best out of all who knew her.

  15. played baritone and trombone in the school marching band and orchestra.

  16. a national merit scholar semi finalist. She will be remembered for her outstanding academics and kind nature.

  17. a member of the ROTC program. He was known for always making others  laugh.

(Those who are holding the orange hearts, please hold them up now in honor of the Parkland students and in hopes that this will never happen again).

Thank you all for attending the #NeverAgain walkout in honor of the fallen members of  Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. We appreciate your respect as we came together as a school to show our support for students and staff just like us. As we remember the students of Parkland today, let us also show support for each other and come together as a community to ensure that this devastating crime never happens again. Please return to your third period class in a respectful and orderly fashion.

Crowl caps successful swim season at Districts

by Dustin Steiger, broadcast director


Ben Crowl successfully completes the 100 breaststroke on Saturday, Mar. 3.

Junior Ben Crowl has been pushing all season for districts, and his efforts most certainly paid off.

For three years, Crowl has been swimming for Meadville Bulldog swim team, but this season has been his best. He qualified for districts in the 200 IM with a time of 2:25:34, and in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:12:29. This all led to the pinnacle of his season. On March 2-3 Crowl went with his team to Districts at the Spire Institute of Ohio, prepared to go big or go home.

At Districts, he smashed his own PR in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:08:75, shaving an entire 3.5 seconds off and placing eighth in the event overall. He also swam a 2:22:61 in the 200 IM, once again beating his own record and placing seventh in the process. This winning streak continued as Crowl and his team placed third in the 200 medley relay and second in the 400 free relay, ending the team’s season with a bang.

“It was my best [season] so far…” Crowl said. “I’m going to train hard in the off season and prepare to go even faster next year.”

PIAA State Wrestling: A pair of grapplers head to Hershey

by Laura Monico, social media editor

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Kenny Kiser and Cody Mulligan will arrive in Hershey this afternoon to prepare for the state wrestling tournament.

Two Panthers headed to Hershey this morning, March 7, to compete at the 2018 PIAA State Wrestling Championships. Grapplers Cody Mulligan and Kenny Kiser will each look to earn a spot on the podium.

Mulligan is a returning 2017 State Champion, and he is hoping to earn his second title this weekend at the 182 lbs. weight class. “My goal is to wrestle my best and hopefully earn my second state title,” he said. Mulligan has had a very successful high school career thus far and will continue his career at Edinboro University. He has many emotions heading into the final tournament of his high school career. “I have some mixed feelings about this being my last tournament, but I’m ready for the future,” Mulligan said.

Kiser, a sophomore who wrestles at 126 lbs., is also excited for the big weekend ahead.  He said, “I’m excited to see how far my hard work will get me.” Although Kiser qualified for the 2017 Championships, he fell short of earning a medal. This year he has higher hopes. “My goal is to medal in the top four of my weight class.” 

Mulligan and Kiser will begin their journey on Thurs. March 8 at 9 a.m.. Depending on the wrestlers’ performance, the medal round will be held on Sat. March 10 at 7 p.m..

For updates, follow The Panther Press on twitter @PantherPressSHS. Sports editor Braeden Kantz will be tweeting live throughout the tournament. 

Career Search: The Forestry Industry

by Bailey Kozalla, editor-in-chief

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Bailey Kozalla

Being raised in an outdoor-centric family, I quickly adopted an affinity for hunting and fishing. At eight years old, I ventured on my first hunt with my mom and dad. Ever since that day, I have been hooked on the sport. Ten years later, and having harvested twelve deer and four turkeys, I plan to develop my love for the outdoors into my dream career. I realize that the environment in which I take these magnificent creatures has given me so much that I decided I want to give back and dedicate my work to them. This is why I have decided to become a forester.

Working in the forestry industry basically means being a tree farmer. This type of agriculture entails working with private landowners to make their forested land healthy. After all, according to summitpost.org, they own over sixty percent of all land in the United States and over 84 percent in Pennsylvania.

There are different types of foresters with the first being service foresters. They work mostly for government agencies such as the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Their main goal is to make the forested land in which they work the healthiest it can be, based on the landowner’s wants and needs. I had the opportunity to shadow a service forester this summer; Mark Lewis, who works at the Crawford County Conservation District for the DCNR.

The second type is a management forester. Working for the private sector, these foresters are mainly employed by paper mills and logging companies, or they have businesses of their own. They take their knowledge of forest and environmental science to harvest trees that are in high demand, but also take into account a variety of environmental factors as well. Self-employed foresters advertise their work so that they can be hired by private landowners wishing to sell a timber harvest.

I am interested in both types of forestry careers, and I can see a future in both. When I did more research on job opportunities, I decided to pursue a degree in environmental science. I narrowed my college decision between Pennsylvania State University and Allegheny College. Both have great reputations for the program, I eventually settled on Allegheny due to lower costs from scholarships I have received.

After years of searching for opportunities, I am so excited to be able to see a future in this career! I hope to fulfill my dream after earning my degree and serve the environment that has given me so much.