PRO/CON: Armed teachers

Armed teachers could protect students

Noah Cagle
News Editor

Following the Florida shooting that killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school, gun debates in the media intensified. Leftist advocates call for stronger gun restrictions, while President Donald Trump has proposed arming teachers during school hours.

Teachers should be allowed to concealed carry just like they would outside of work. Exercising the Second Amendment shouldn’t be an obligation to the teacher, but an option for them personally. Allowing teachers the option to concealed-carry a handgun during the school day could heighten security.

School security isn’t as strong as it, unfortunately, needs to be. Having officers present on campus may be beneficial during an active shooter threat, but having prepared, sane and willfully armed individuals throughout a high school campus could increase security, rather than just having a few police officers. As we saw in Parkland, school resource officers may not always be reliable in terms of security.

Relying on police officers for school security has proven to be ineffective. According to CNN, the MSD high school armed resource officer failed to act on the shooter and instead remained positioned outside of building 12, where Nikolas Cruz was inside committing a massacre. The officer remained idle for four minutes, while the shooting occurred over the course of six minutes. Also, three other officers who responded to the shooting failed to enter the building to engage the shooter. This doesn’t mean that all officers neglect their responsibilities; rather it shows that relying on only police for school security may possibly backfire and has backfired previously.

Teachers shouldn’t be forced to carry. Teachers should be allowed to carry like they would outside of work. It should be a decision for them as a citizen, rather than an obligation of theirs as a teacher. According to CNN, Callisburg Independent School District in Texas, have instituted their “guardian program,” which allows a small group of school staff to carry a concealed firearm. A junior at Callisburg High says that she “feels protected.”

One popular argument against allowing teachers to carry guns during school hours was used by Chelsea Clinton on The View, where she said “we expect so much from our teachers.” That’s true; teachers hold up many responsibilities, and carrying a firearm shouldn’t be one of them. When carrying a firearm on campus, the teacher wouldn’t be acting as a teacher upholding their responsibilities; they would acting as a citizen exercising their Second Amendment rights.

Despite the report by Everytown, a gun control advocacy group, the Parkland shooting was not the 18th school shooting of 2018. The group defines a school shooting as “anytime a firearm discharges a live round” on school property, disregarding fatalities and intent. MacMillan dictionary defines a school shooting as “a violent act in which someone uses a gun to kill or injure teachers, students, and staff.”

The entire nation is longing to bring mass murder to a halt. Arming teachers is a great way to heighten school security.

Gun presence raises usage likelihood

Ethan Smith
Copy Editor

It is clear that our nation needs to prevent more tragedies like the Columbine and Parkland shootings, and all too many other acts of gun violence. I don’t have a definitive solution to these problems, but I can say with certainty that arming our nation’s teachers is not the answer.

Adding a gun into a school setting drastically increases the chance that the gun is going to be used, even if it is well protected. This can be solved simply by not having a firearm in the situation at all.

During the research for this article, WCHS teachers were asked to anonymously discuss their views on the issue. We asked a simple question: “Do you think it is a good idea to arm our nation’s teachers?” 76.1% of WCHS teachers responded with “No, teachers do not need access to firearms in our school.” 19.6% responded with “Yes, teachers need access to firearms in our school, and 4.3% responded with other responses. The vast majority of teachers do not think that a school is a place for guns. One anonymous teacher gave us their thoughts, saying “Teachers are not trained armed guards. Our schools have much more pressing financial and safety needs than dumping money into weapons, bullets, training and safety gear needed to operate those weapons. Schools are institutions of learning, not prisons.”

Arming teachers would endanger more, but it would also take away precious funds from the already limited budget of public education. Money that could be spent on books and supplies would be used to buy guns. Handguns are expensive, and bullets aren’t free.

One anonymous source summed it up this way: “I am a gun owner, but I don’t believe teachers should have guns in their classrooms. There are too many variables that would play into something happening where people could be injured or fatally wounded. Once you bring a gun into the situation, the liability falls onto the school and teachers. We already have a copious amount of responsibility and are asked to do more than we should.”

According to the74million.org, 61% of teachers are stressed out and described their mental health as “not good.” Giving access to firearms in stressful situations (such as a student being intentionally obnoxious) could cause problems. Even just one teacher that snaps is too many.

There is also the possibility of confusion and tragedy when it comes to giving teachers guns.

There have been multiple police officers over the years (who are trained and professional) who have incorrectly identified an innocent person as carrying a firearm, and then fired upon them.

If your job is to teach, but you are also always on the lookout for a threat, you create a situation in which you can hurt someone.

Right now in Indiana, it is legal for school systems to set their own policies regarding firearm carry.

This shouldn’t be up to school officials, this should be up to the people that it directly affects: the students and teachers of Indiana.

A teacher from our survey put it well: “Teachers need to teach. Let the trained SRO’s handle the security.”

 

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