Why We Shouldn’t Arm Teachers

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Students in a classroom

Students in a classroom

Students in a classroom

Amanda Rose Jones, Editor

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On March 11th, 2018, President Donald Trump revealed multiple proposals on school safety and gun restrictions. The administration said that they will not push for universal background checks, nor the age requirement to purchase a rifle in the United States of America. Instead, they will attempt to harden American schools by providing training and assistance for states to arm teachers.

This is why this is a bad idea:

For starters, polls have shown that the majority of Americans are against the idea of arming teachers. Not only that, but it would take 132 hours required to train each school official to carry a gun. This is less than what the most basic police officers receive in training. Basic recruits must complete an 80-hour course in defensive tactics and another 80 hours in firearms. They must show adequacy in 41 defensive techniques, and understand the legal application of the use of deadly force. Police must know how to handle handguns, shotguns, rifles and semiautomatic weapons — and they must practice, among other skills, survival shooting techniques. Recruits also have to show they can handle firing weapons under various conditions. They must show that their skills are still up to par every two years, and individual agencies may test officers more frequently than that. Many people suggest that this is not enough time to train police officers themselves.  So why should we as a society, choose to place this pressure and enormous strain on people under-qualified and unprepared to deal with these situations, when they also have to worry about teaching students and preparing them for life after high school?

Other issues must be taken into account also, such as the laws currently instated that must be turned over, and the overall expense of it. In many states, it is prohibited for students and teachers alike, to be able to bring a firearm in such a sensitive place such as a school. It will also be extremely expensive. If a teacher accidentally fires or harms a student with a firearm, the school district will be held liable. Additionally,  Since teachers are considered government workers, the government will tall also be held accountable for any failures or incidents that occurred because of the said government worker. Not only that, the training of the educational officials will cost money, and a ton of it. The range of the cost spans from the tens of millions to billions of dollars.

Some other questions asked about having teachers armed is, how will a teacher know when or when not a kid is an actual threat? How will they know when to shelter their students, when to move them, when to protect them, and when to give up and abandon the situation entirely? How do we teach a school official to be ready to shoot a student who they may have been previously teaching the day before? How do we prepare teachers for that, how do we ready these adults mentally so they can be ready to take immediate action?

Let’s not sit here and fool ourselves. A place full of teachers with armed with firearms is not a school, it is a prison. A prison where these adults will have to balance the priorities of making sure every single kid gets the education they deserve and being ready to take down a school shooter if the situation arises. Is this the learning environment we want to put kids in? Is this truly the best solution to try and prevent gun violence in schools? What is the way to reduce the number of school shootings in America? I don’t know the answer. But what I do know is that we said Columbine would be the last school shooting. That was in 1999. We then said the same thing about Sandy Hook. That was in 2012. It is now 2018, and we said that Majory Stoneman Douglas High School would be the last. And little over a month later, another shooting happened in Maryland. Young teens and kids are dying, and the only thing our government is focused on is handing over automatic weapons to adults who all aren’t equipped to bear them. We need to do better, and the children of the United States of America deserve it.

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