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Teachers should not be first line of defence against gun attacks, student says

A British teenager caught up in the Florida high school shooting has said teachers should not be the first line of defence against a “rampant gunman”.Lewis Mizen, who is originally from Coventry but now studies at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, hid in a closet as a shooter killed 17 people in a Valentine’s …

A British teenager caught up in the Florida high school shooting has said teachers should not be the first line of defence against a “rampant gunman”.

Lewis Mizen, who is originally from Coventry but now studies at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, hid in a closet as a shooter killed 17 people in a Valentine’s Day massacre.

The 17-year-old has joined a number of students demanding tighter gun controls following the tragedy, which he said was “something we are going to fight for as long as we are here”.

Lewis told delegates at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai: “We have been asked a lot – what’s our end goal and how do you plan on getting there.

“We don’t know how we plan on getting to it, but the end goal is that every child in the United States and eventually across the world is able to go to school and come home again to their parents.”

Lewis, whose sister is a teacher in the UK, added: “The idea that teachers would have to put their lives on the line for their students, isn’t something that really comes into consideration in England.

“I remember speaking to my sister the day after it happened, and I said to her, ‘I know you love your students, but could you imagine having to take a bullet for them?’

“I think that really stuck with her, and that stuck with me too because teachers are there to educate their students.

“They shouldn’t have to serve as a first line of defence between them and a rampant gunman on campus.”

The shooting, which left 14 pupils and three teachers dead, has sparked a public outcry, with students meeting President Donald Trump and organising marches calling for gun legislation reform.

Lewis, appearing on stage at the event with fellow students Suzanna Barna, 17, and Kevin Trejos, 18, said there were a “number of reasons” why arming teachers is a bad idea.

“It completely changes the environment in which education is given and I for one wouldn’t feel comfortable knowing my teachers were carrying around guns,” he said.

Lewis first moved to the United States in 2009 for four years, returning again in 2015 after an 18-month break in the UK.

Asked if he had ever considered that he would be involved in such a massacre, he said: “In England no, because even police officers don’t carry guns.

“Maybe you play a video game and that’s probably the most experience you have with guns.

“Even when I was in America, you see it on the news, you never consider that it’s going to happen to you.

“It’s always something that happens a few thousand miles away that you can get into bed at the end of the day and not have to worry about any more.

“And it changes perspective on a lot of things.”

Hundreds of thousands are expected to take to the streets of Washington DC to protest against gun violence on March 24.

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