Arming Teachers in Schools:
A Bad Idea
There is a very high probability that under the current political climate we are going to see another mass shooting. Whether it is in a school, a
mall or at a concert, it is just a matter of time before it happens again. It truly bothers me to write these words, but it is true. It is an American
tragedy of our modern-day society that should be well outside the bounds of political ideology. Unfortunately, it is not. It is well within the scope
and the responsibility of Congress to enact sensible gun control measures that keep all Americans, irrespective of their political persuasion,
safe. However, in the absence of Congress’ ability or willingness to put forth sensible, bi-partisan legislation, everyday citizens are being
forced to pick up the mantle by putting pressure on politicians to do something to help put an end to this savagery.
The recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida where 17 people lost their lives in what some have
described as a modern-day St. Valentine’s Day massacre has once again sparked the debate over whether or not teachers should be armed
while teaching our children. There is a belief among some people that had some of those teachers been armed with guns that they would have
been able to confront the suspect, shoot and kill him. While it is certainly understandable that some teachers may want to have access to a
firearm in the event they are faced with an active shooter; we must also consider the other ramifications of being strapped on campus while
teaching and whether the benefit outweighs the risks.
The division over whether to arm teachers is deep. There are lots of pros and cons about whether a teacher should be “strapped” while
teaching. It has been proposed that decisions on policies that allow teachers who have the desire to carry a firearm in the classroom to do so
should be left up to the States, according to the president. In recent polling, 50 percent of all registered voters agreed with President Trump
that teachers should be armed. Trump floated the idea immediately following the mass casualties as a solution to increase safety. At the time, it
was condemned as crazy, but some polling indicates that half of the voters agree with him. Meanwhile, 42 percent oppose the idea.
Various law enforcement and educator groups oppose arming teachers in schools. Putting more guns in our schools does not make them
safer. It makes them more dangerous as there are so many things that could go wrong. For example, a teacher could be disarmed by a student,
or a teacher might feel that their safety is being threatened and open fire on a student who poses no real threat. Putting teachers in a position to
have to make a split-second decision about whether to shoot a kid is a flawed approach to increasing the safety of our schools. The National
Association of School Resource Officers opposes arming teachers in schools as responding officers might mistake a teacher for the bad guy.
The National Education Association, representing over three million teachers have gone on record as saying, “Our students need more books,
art and music programs, nurses and school counselors; they do not need guns in their classrooms.”
Let’s leave the safety of schools up to trained law enforcement officials who are trained to serve and protect and let the teachers focus on the
job of educating our students. Our focus should be on better gun control measures beginning with tougher background checks, despite the fact
that in this most recent mass shooting, the gunman, Nikolas Cruz, legally possessed the weapon. Our current legislation allows a person who
is on the No-Fly Terrorist Watch list to legally purchase a military grade assault rifle. The vast majority of Americans, 84 percent, support tighter
legislation when it comes to background checks, but 40 percent of firearms are sold without one. The time has come for sensible gun control
Australia is a prime example of a country that took measure to drastically curve gun violence. In 1996, a gunman killed 35 people in a mass
shooting. Immediately following the shooting, the country implemented an all-out buy back of certain types of weapons. Also, they put in place a
ban on any future purchase of those weapons. And while it did not end gun violence altogether, there have been no mass casualties since the
ban went into effect.
Arming teachers in classrooms is not only a bad idea. It’s just plain dumb. We can and must do better in the U.S.