The incoming leader of the San Diego Unified School District says she's in favor of the "highest level of security and safety," but rejects calls for arming school staff.
"I can't support a teacher having a gun," Superintendent-designate Cindy Marten told the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club on Wednesday night, wading into the national gun-control debate.
She noted the presence of the San Diego Unified Police Department in the state's second-largest school district, with 132,000 students, and said she wanted school safety and security of the highest quality.
However, "We need to make sure teachers are focused on teaching and learning and the police department is focused on protection," said the Rancho Peñasquitos resident.
Marten said that when children are ill, "did I have to make every teacher become a nurse? No, I opened a health center. When children aren't safe, do I have to make every teacher a police officer?
"No, I have to get police and more security in place," she said in reply to a member's question after a 45-minute talk on her career and philosophies.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre of mid-December, the National Rifle Association and others have called for the arming and training of educators in firearms.
Marten, who officially succeeds Bill Kowba as superintendent July 1, opposed that effort, saying: "We went to college to be teachers."
Patch will post a fuller report on Marten's appearance Thursday.