Columbine High School. Sandy Hook Elementary. Virginia Tech University. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
My generation has lived through the largest school shootings in American history. No student deserves to go to class worrying about dying or have to worry about a gun in the hands of their teacher.
I don’t know what the answer is when it comes to solving school shootings but I am certain that placing a gun in the hands of every teacher is not the answer.
Placing a gun in the hands of someone who isn’t confident, comfortable or properly trained is asking for chaos and so is handing a gun to someone who is too confident and comfortable after proper training.
Paul Thornton, the letters editor for the Los Angeles Times and a teacher for more than 30 years, a National Rifle Association member, firearms instructor and military veteran, finds a number of problems with arming teachers in his article, “Here’s what teachers say about putting guns in their classrooms.”
Even with all of his experience with firearms and qualifications, Thornton wonders how this proposed solution can logically make schools safer.
In a crisis situation, it’s important to ask ,“What if?”
What if, while teachers fire their guns at the gunman, a student is killed in the crossfire?
What if a teacher is called to fight a gunman and leaves his or her students without a leader to follow, leaving them alone in a classroom? What if a teacher uses a gun as a threat toward students? What if a student takes the gun?
If you don’t like to weigh the “what ifs,” then here’s a fact: At the end of the day, teachers aren’t police officers. They are not highly-trained professionals who are practiced at remaining calm and rational in a life-or-death situation — and they should not have to be.
Placing guns in classrooms around children, teenagers or adults will not help. It will only make it easier for the students who are planning a shooting to have access to a gun and create an environment that is counterintuitive to safety.
Giving teachers guns will not make students feel safe and it will not end school shootings. Teachers carrying guns will make students feel uneasy and create a tense environment that inhibits learning.
The National Center for Education Statistics says that in public schools alone, there are 3.2 million teachers as of 2017.
Whatever the number of teachers President Donald J. Trump suggests we arm, it doesn’t matter.
Imagine even one-third of those 3.2 million teachers carrying guns — adding 1 million more guns to this problem is not a world I envision for students, nor is it a world where I would feel confident in sending my future children to school.
As someone who has watched America’s deadliest school shootings happen in the news, I have never thought that I would feel better if my teachers were in possession of guns.
My generation and those younger than us are experiencing the cruelest, relentless and scariest parts of America’s history in terms of school shootings and it’s time to realize what will and will not fix the problem.
Arming teachers with guns is not the answer and is not a step in the right direction.