Wife of Parkland victim 'wholeheartedly' disagrees with arming teachers

Debbie Hixon says proposal is 'burden teachers shouldn't have to carry'

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor, Terrell Forney - Reporter

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The wife of one of the victims of the Parkland school shooting said the thought of arming teachers makes her nervous.

"It's a burden teachers shouldn't have to carry," Debbie Hixon told Local 10 News during a break in Thursday's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission meeting in Tallahassee.

"No one's forcing them, I get that, but even if you think that you're OK, it just opens the door for so many things that could go wrong."

Friday marks 10 months since the lives of her husband, Chris Hixon, and 16 others were cut short by Nikolas Cruz.

Chris Hixon was the athletic director and a campus monitor at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He could have been one of the armed educators designated to carry a weapon under the proposal being pushed by the MSD Public Safety Commission.

"Even if the right cop got there and (had) gone in, there already would've been 23 people shot and killed, so you have to have somebody there that can take swift and effective action," Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said. "And those people are going to be the teachers or the school staff."

Debbie Hixon agreed that if her husband or another teacher had a gun, they could have stopped Cruz.

"But being a teacher in a classroom and being in a microcosm that none of them have ever been in themselves, there's so much emotion going on in there," she said.

Mishandling of the weapon is Debbie Hixon's fear, but in a lengthy preliminary report by the MSD Public Safety Commission, the panel outlines a strict screening process to include background and training for teachers who volunteer.

"Those guardians that are in schools must keep that weapon on their person, not leave it in a desk," state Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, said.

But that's no reassurance for Debbie Hixon, who is a teacher at another Broward County school.

"I disagree wholeheartedly with arming teachers," she said. "A teacher's job is to teach."

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