In response to the continuing scourge of school violence with weapons, there are those who believe the answer is not increased gun regulations, but increased armed guard and, in particular, arming school teachers. A few thoughts on that proposal:
- The right often quotes a statement by Benjamin Franklin about those who give up liberty for security get neither. This is usually in reference to proposals to ban or take away guns. But it is equally true to the notion of having increased armed presence in public and becoming a police state. Neither is the correct approach.
- Although the proposal is to arm the teachers, no one ever asks where those teachers would get the guns, and who would pay for them. Teachers are woefully underpaid as it is, using personal money for classroom supplies and educational material. Do we expect them to find the personal money to buy the guns; money that they don’t have? Do we expect the school districts, which are also underfunded, to supply them? What educational courses do you want cut this time; remember, curriculum has also been cut to the bone due to lack of funds?
- In terms of hardening the schools themselves, ask yourself this: In the past — in the time of your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents — schools were not fortified, and did not have guards let alone fences. Yet there weren’t school shootings. So what has changed?
- Would you be comfortable with loaded weaponry, out and accessible, being present in a classroom with curious children? If not, when the unthinkable happens, would you rather the teacher protect the children and get them to safety, or fumble to find the keys to unlock the gun safe to get out the gun, load it, and then shoot? Where should those precious minutes be spent?
Arming the teachers is not the answer, when you think about it critically. Think about what other solutions might work better. I have a few ideas.
[ETA: Over on FB, a friend shared a post that captured three other areas I missed: Training — who will train the teachers and who will pay for it; Liability — who will be liable if the teacher misses and hits someone else; and Psychological — there will be numerous psychological impacts of asking a teacher to potentially shoot a child or a former student, and who will pay for all the counseling afterwards. Yet more reasons this is a poor idea. Here’s the reference to that shared post.]