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Should We Arm Teachers with Guns?

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The mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which killed 14 students and three school staff, marked the eighteenth school shooting in the United States this year (another being a recent Alabama shooting). Teens have led the movement for gun control, specifically for regulations on purchasing firearms which were used during the Parkland shooting. Backlash has been directed to the National Rifle Association (NRA), but with their massive power over politicians, they seems almost untouchable. Instead of condemning the NRA for its part in mass shootings all over America, the Trump administration has sided with it and is instead pushing for arming teachers with guns. Donald Trump believes that instead of regulating gun ownership, he should instead increase it by supplying teachers with training and guns to help give a “fighting chance” in case of another school shooting. Teachers, as well as students, have expressed their discontent with the idea of arming teachers and came up with the hashtag #ArmMeWith where they list things such as school supplies, support, and textbooks. The Trump administration fails to realize that bringing guns on campus would just further escalate danger everyday at school.

While the Trump administration believes the safer option would be for school staff to be trained and armed to defend schools from an attacker, it doesn’t make sense to protect schools from violence by bringing violent weapons to school everyday. Yes, the school staff would undergo extensive training from military personnel on how to handle a gun, but one can’t expect an ordinary staff member with little experience to know exactly how to handle a gun in a stressful situation in the event of a mass shooting. It would be too much pressure for a teacher to handle a gun and ensure the safety of their students at the same time all while a traumatic event is happening. Instead of training staff with extensive military personnel to learn how to defend against an attacker, staff would be better off being trained on how to escort students to safety and away from the attacker.

Bringing guns on campus is not the answer to prevent an attack. Trump said the training and arming of school staff is on a voluntary basis, but the reality is- if a teacher thinks it’s a good idea to have a gun on campus, they probably shouldn’t have a gun in the first place. A fed up teacher could whip out a gun on an unruly class and it can turn to chaos fast. Or a student could manage to take the gun away from the staff member and turn it on a staff member or student. Having multiple guns on campus is only going to incite more danger and violence. Teachers being armed would only create a cloud of tension over the campus between them and the students. Neither the staff or students would feel comfortable or be able to focus on their education knowing there is a murder weapon at hands reach.

According to nytimes.com, A Florida state legislative committee approved a $67 million “school marshal” program this week to train and arm teachers — over the vocal opposition of Parkland residents.”

The Florida House said the $67 million for the program would not be taken out of schools’ budgets so it wouldn’t affect funding for education, but that brings up one question: where is this $67 million coming from that couldn’t have been free to use towards education? Instead of spending so many millions on training teachers to use guns, which won’t solve anything, the money should be used for things teachers actually need. For instance, at Morse our teachers couldn’t even hand out classwork for their students because all of the copy machines were broken, hindering class time. The money could be used to pay for textbooks, writing utensils, technology, school food, and literally so many other things that are more vital to students and teachers than arming and training staff. Supply schools with better mental health care and counseling resources that teachers and students could turn to in order to prevent more traumatic events.

Trump offered a $500 bonus for school staff that volunteer for the program, but that money could motivate volunteers for the wrong reasons. Some would be more motivated by the money than actually protecting the school. So in times of danger, a volunteer who has already received the bonus would see it as trivial to lose their lives over people they probably didn’t care too much for in the first place. And maybe some volunteer staff really do think that being armed is the best option for safety in schools.

Arming teachers is not going to prevent anything, but restricting gun purchasing laws would. In response to people who believe that arming teachers would be dangerous because they might not be suited to carry, the administration said that all volunteers would be screened properly. But instead of screening teachers, they should properly screen people who want to purchase assault weapons, like the ones used in Sandy Hook and Parkland. The administration and the National Rifle Association fail to grasp this simple concept: guns do kill people. Less guns in America would lead to less gun death.

Instead of giving more people guns, how about taking away more guns? If Trump and the NRA are curious about how teachers and students feel about bringing more murder weapons on campus, Morse has an answer: we don’t want them.

1 Comment

One Response to “Should We Arm Teachers with Guns?”

  1. Lancer Belmont on May 17th, 2018 9:12 am

    I don’t know about arming teachers, but how about school security?

    When I attended Bell Junior High in the mid-eighties, I remember our school security officer, Mr. Bruzy. He was an imposing 6 foot tall man and he was ARMED with a snub nosed pistol. I feared this guy, but I also felt safe at Bell. This was one guy you didn’t want to mess with. He kept Bell safe!

    Arming teachers? Having been trained in firearms myself (U.S. Marines) and owning some, I’m a mixed bag on that. Having a firearm is never to be taken lightly and the training for it must be adhered to. Having to use it, even in a justified situation can be a life changing event, and not always for the good. Not everyone can handle them effectively.

    The law enforcement failed Douglas High School when they didn’t enter the campus during the shooting; the FBI also failed them when they had knowledge of this perpetrator’s tendencies two months earlier; and where was school security? We keep talking about guns this, guns that, what about the people who failed to do their jobs?

    School security needs to be armed. If they have to face a perpetrator with a firearm, how faraway is the nearest LEO? Five minutes? A lot of damage can be done in that time frame. With an armed school security, the response is less as they are on campus or in the building.

    I agree that we need to stop these shootings and that BAD PEOPLE shouldn’t have guns. But if stricter gun laws are the answer, then why is a place like Chicago that has those said tough gun laws still have shooting problems? Stricter gun laws are not the end-all-be-all for stopping gun violence.

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