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Should Teachers be Allowed to Have Guns in School

Updated on November 15, 2014

What Can We do About Gun Violence in Schools?

Teachers and guns: is it a good idea?
Teachers and guns: is it a good idea? | Source

Gun Control Debate in America

What guns American citizens should and should not be allowed to carry is a hotly debated issue in our country right now.

Some Americans and lawmakers think guns should be banned altogether, while others think only certain guns, such as semi-automatics, should be banned. Still others think that America has the right to bear arms and should have the freedom to own and use guns.

This isn't an issue that is going to go away quickly or without controversy. The growing number of school shootings in the last few years has propelled this topic to the forefront of our consciousness.

When it comes to our children's safety, something has to be done.

Has There Been an Increase in School Shootings?

School shootings are on the rise. Since 1996, there have been 48 school shootings in either elementary, middle or high schools. 37 of those have been committed by kids under the age of 18.

In 2012 alone, there were four reported school shootings in the U.S.

  • February 27, 2012, in Ohio, a former classmate shot and killed three students and injured six.
  • March 6th, 2012, in Jacksonville, Florida, a former teacher walked into the school and shot the principal that had fired him earlier in the day.
  • April 2nd, 2012, in Oakland, California, a former student of a the school opened fire on the campus, killed seven people, and wounded several others.
  • December 14th, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary School and shot and killed 20 children and six adults.

Until Sandy Hook, these school shootings were only reported on local news, with short blips possibly reported by the mainstream media.

Sandy Hook captured America's interest as it was especially heart wrenching because of the age of the victims. Five and six year olds are not much older than babies. To take their lives at such a young age shows the total depravity and lack of basic decency Adam Lanza had.

It was Sandy Hook that woke America up to the growing problem of school shootings and the need to find a solution for them.

The Solution to School Shootings

Do you think arming teachers is a way to prevent shootings?

See results

South Dakota: The First State Allowing Teachers to Carry Guns in School

On March 8th, 2013, the governor of South Dakota signed a bill into law that will allow teachers to carry guns in school. The new law will go into effect on July 1, 2013.

The law was met with much controversy. Many in South Dakota think it's unsafe to arm teachers and that armed officers should be employed to protect students and staff.

Many school districts are underfunded and do not have the funds to pay an officer. South Dakota school board members think it makes more economic sense to arm teachers or to allow armed volunteers who have passed a rigorous background check.

Arming teachers in South Dakota is not done deal, there is one requirement to the law:

While teachers are able to carry concealed weapons legally in South Dakota, each school district must have a public meeting to decide whether they want to have armed teachers in their particular district.

Tennessee Representative Proposes Arming Teachers to Protect our Children

States that are Considering Legislation to Arm Teachers

  • Arizona
  • North Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • California
  • Mississippi
  • Florida
  • Minnesota
  • Oregon

How do We Prevent School Shootings?

The growing problem of school shootings has led to the question, how do we prevent them?

The quick answer from Washington is to ban guns altogether. Other lawmakers in many states think the answer is arming our teachers.

If one teacher had had a gun at Sandy Hook, would 26 lives had been lost?

Proponents of arming teachers say no. Once gunshots started ringing out, an armed teacher could have shot Adam Lanza and saved half, if not more, of the 26.

But is arming teachers a good idea? Would it really save lives?

Alternatively, is banning guns altogether a feasible undertaking? For a gun ban to work, every gun ever produced, every shotgun that is in someone's attic, every police officer's gun would have to be confiscated.

Otherwise, the only people without guns would be law abiding citizens. Guns would be bought and sold on the black market. Thugs and criminals who have no regard for the law would be carrying guns and committing crimes. No one would have the ability to stand up to them and stop them.

We must find a way to prevent shootings in schools, but what is the right answer?

Is Arming Teachers the Answer?

If a gunman is planning to walk into a school full of children and play God with their lives, would the thought of knowing there is a possibility of his getting shot be a deterrent to him?

Is it better for defenseless teachers and children to hide in classrooms and wait to be picked off by a crazed gunman?

By arming teachers, the playing field, so to speak is leveled. One person, whose intent is to do harm, wouldn't have all the power.

Arming teachers, however, presents a new set of questions. How do we safely arm teachers to protect our children?

The following steps would have to be taken to ensure the safety of school personnel and students:

  • The teacher would undergo psychological testing to ensure that there is no danger of them using the gun on themselves or those in the school.
  • A background check would be done to be sure no violent crimes had been committed by the teacher.
  • The teacher would be sent to gun safety training.
  • The teacher would obtain a concealed weapon permit.

Obviously, the teacher would have the gun on their person at all times. Because of children's natural curiosity of guns, a gun left in a desk drawer or cabinet could would, obviously, be dangerous if a child found the gun and decided to play with the gun or use it.

The amount of money needed for teachers to undergo screenings and training is more than most school districts have in their budget. Even if only one or two teachers at a school were properly armed and trained at a time, the cost would be in the thousands.

For those lawmakers who are proposing legislation to arm teachers, there is certainly a lot to consider.

But if it saves one life, especially if that life is your child's, is it worth it?

Secret Service Shares Ways on How to Prevent a School Shooting

What Do You as a Parent Think?

Would you send your child to school if you knew teachers had guns?

See results

So What is the Answer?

Unfortunately, our America of today is not the America of 30 years ago. Gone are the days we can send our children to school without the fear of some lunatic taking their lives in the middle of math class.

Banning guns would be difficult to implement and carry out. Arming teachers would be expensive and new policies and procedures would have to be put in place to ensure they were not a threat to our children.

Steps do have to be taken to prevent these school shootings. However, the way to go about preventing them is an argument that will be raging for a long time.

Comments

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    • Abbyfitz profile imageAUTHOR

      Abbyfitz 

      5 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for your comment! This is definitely a hot button issue with no easy solution. I understand you and your husbands situations. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Irish Shrew profile image

      Ro 

      5 years ago from Midwest

      I enjoyed your well thought out and rational article. I am a retired teacher. I am also married to a cop and got stoned and strung out to dry on another forum on this subject. I don't object to people having guns. I simply ask; Why do you have anything that fires more than 10 rounds at a time? Why do you have to have assault weapons to hunt 1 deer and in some areas maybe 2? A lot of the gun proponents want to use analogies containing multiple invaders in their home. I think a shotgun does just fine-if you even agree to use it. Which leads me to this point; who says that every principal, asst. principal, counselor, and even guard can react with due diligence and in a calm fashion when a shooter is bent on destruction? Would you believe there are cops out there that actually lie about their location when a shooting takes place? They want to avoid the danger. I'm not being glib. It does happen. My husband has had partners that really didn't want to be in the line of fire. There are county,city, park and recreation officers that overreact- shooting anything that moves. Now put that same weapon in the hands of a novice school administrator. Did you hear about the guard that left his gun in the sink of the restroom while urinating? What about the children that came in the room after? Can you imagine what it would be like for the school official that couldn't respond from pure instinct because he had never had any experience in doing so? Then compound that with the every day trials and tribulations of running an educational facility and all that it encompasses. Training for these people? There are a lot of assumptions being made on how they will be trained, with what follow-up, and who are they really training. You are already taking a risk on what may be happening in the staffs' lives. Domestic disputes, alcohol/prescription abuse perhaps, or just plain fear for their own lives. A teacher takes a stance on educating the young but no university ever trained us for giving up our lives for our career. A law enforcement official, in fact,does. By the way , let's revisit the Republican party's stance on Unions- Teacher Unions. They are grossly over paid for what they do...really? But isn't funny how quick they added public safety to their Job Description?

    • profile image

      mminieri 

      5 years ago

      Good perspective from a Security Expert in a brief paper is here; http://www.minieriassociates.com/School_Security_F...

    • Abbyfitz profile imageAUTHOR

      Abbyfitz 

      5 years ago from Florida

      Thank you for your comments. I don't think there is an easy clear cut answer to the issue either. It seems that no one vales life anymore and that is part of the problem.

    • Jennifer Madison profile image

      Jennifer Madison 

      5 years ago from Lohmar

      A very informative article which examines the issue from different perspectives. Great job!

      Personally, I think arming teachers is generally not the way to go. From my point of view, the solution would be fewer guns and not more guns. Of course, either way, arming teachers or taking guns away from citizens will lead to costs that cannot be borne by the states. It is difficult to come up with a solution. I think that in general, the access to any kinds of guns, just like in Europe, should be made more difficult and that background checks should be more extensive.

    • Abbyfitz profile imageAUTHOR

      Abbyfitz 

      5 years ago from Florida

      I agree. Thank you for your opinion!

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 

      5 years ago from Texas

      The key here is not to "arm every teacher" as that would be a poor approach for a number of reasons. The point is to have the presence of guns in a place that is publicly declared a "gun-free zone". Past events in these "gun-free zones" shows that those folks in those areas are totally defenseless if someone decides to launch an attack. In my community each middle and high school has a police officer assigned to the school who is armed. I know of only one incident over the past 20 years and that appears to have been a prank call to shut down the school. Arming particular staff members on-site may have value...for example...the principle and assistant principal....folks who are on the move in the site who can shorten the response time to an attack while calls to the police are being made. Understand, this is not the "first line of security" about who comes and goes at the school but more about response time and deterrence of those who might reason that those on campus are defenseless and an easy target. Police officers do not wear guns just to kill people but as a symbol of deterrence to those who might consider breaking the law. Deterrence is about symbols and reality. Fears have to be put to rest. What if the school decides to put a swimming pool on its site. All the parents who cannot swim are horrified because their child might drown if allowed to wonder near the pool unsupervised thus the conclusion....there can be no swimming pool...fear rules the day. ~WB

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