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Cortland/Ithaca

Teach-in discusses gun safety

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Teach-in discusses gun safety
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School safety has been on many people's minds since the Sandy Hook shootings. Tuesday night, it was the topic of discussion at one of the big education institutions in the area, SUNY Cortland. Iris St. Meran attended a teach-in on the topic and has more.

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Education is a popular major at SUNY Cortland, so you can imagine the personal connection many students felt after Sandy Hook. There was some anxiety among students and that's what this teach-in was for: To provide information about ways to make the classroom safe with and without guns.

Many of the people in this lecture hall at SUNY Cortland are studying to be educators. There's been a new focus on the profession following the shootings at Sandy Hook.

"There was a lot of uncertainty for teachers. Like whether our field was safe. Whether we could do anything if something like this happened in one of our classrooms," said Education Club Co-President Kimberly Hesler.

In response to the concerns and to address safety, SUNY Cortland hosted a teach-in Tuesday. It was standing room only as the audience heard from panelists who talked about the place for guns in the classroom and ways to be safe without them.

Here's one student’s take on the matter.

"I personally wouldn't want to be armed because I don't do well with that. I don't think I would be able to use a gun or anything," said Lisa Daley, Education Club Co-President.

There was some anxiety among students following the shooting. But the teach-in provided some clarity.

Hesler said, "Protecting your students is a big thing. I think that a lot of us here have the courage and determination to do something like that if we were put in the situation."

Alumna Mary Sherlach was in that situation . She was a school psychologist at Sandy Hook and confronted the shooter before she was killed. There are plans in the works to honor her.

SUNY Cortland President Erik Bitterbaum said, "We have a scholarship that we're probably going to give to a psychology student with the funds that have been collected in her honor. There have been additional thoughts so hopefully Mary Joy Sherlach's name will be long remembered.”

This year would have been her 35th reunion here. She has strong ties to the college. This is where she met her husband, so a special recognition is being planned during this year’s reunion.

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