As with any ‘hot button’ issue, we all have our own opinions. And we hold on to those opinions tightly, maybe too tightly. One thing I can say that I truly believe, not a single one of us holds the answer; at least not on our own. Another thing I feel certain about is that a single solution approach ISN’T the answer either: banning guns or arming teachers/schools.
“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
As a teacher, I have enough on my plate. In many districts things like paper cutters, hand sanitizer, air freshener (I agree with this one), and many other household items are banned; now someone wants to arm us with a lethal weapon? Yes, I understand it would be voluntary, yes the gun holders would be trained. But who is going to do the training? Will there be extra pay for the teacher carrying? Where’s the money coming from? We just had a massive tax cut; that’s where the money comes from. We are already underfunded. What happens if an active shooter is on campus? Police come in looking for a person with a gun. Now they have to decide if the person holding it is good or bad? And who’s paying for the guns? Will the teachers be held to a higher background check standard? Districts can’t afford to hire the staff they have, requiring them to hire armed personnel will make class sizes larger and limit resources for kids. Will armed personnel be able to help in my classroom? Will they be visible (meaning will we all know or suspect who’s packing)? If visible, what psychological impact would that have on students who come from traumatic backgrounds (of which I see more and more of each year)? Fighting fire with fire has never been an answer. In addition, the accuracy of a handgun is low in a situation against a semi-automatic. Then there is crossfire. So instead of bullets coming from one shooter, we have them coming from two, possibly coming from two different directions. What happens if said teacher shoots a student in the crossfire?
This is a complex issue with many moving parts. The solution will have to be multifaceted in order to address the many components that make up this issue. Simply arming teachers (dumb idea, I’m hired to educate let me do my job) or placing law enforcement in schools isn’t the answer. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the perpetuation of the school to prison pipeline – locked & fenced campuses with armed guards.
I also want to ask where was the outrage when we got rid of PE? Music? Arts? Shop Class? Auto Class? When we began overtesting? When our classes were filled to the brim? When students were sitting in broken down classrooms? When students had to share books? When we started looking at teachers and questioning their ability? Which led to legislators mandating what to teach, when to do teach, and how to teach? Where was the outrage when we begged for psychologists in every school? Maybe if we had a bit more of that support we wouldn’t be where we are today. The defunding and dismantling of public education goes back decades. Maybe it’s time we start putting kids first, REALLY putting them first. And before anyone jumps all over me telling me that simply by funding education won’t fix the problem, you’re right. At least in part. It won’t fix it now, but it will fix it for the future. It didn’t get this way overnight and it won’t get fixed overnight.
As I’ve stated, this is a complex issue. There are many stakeholders. I don’t know what the answer is, but it’s out there. I believe that it will be a combination of several factors.
Go forth and be good to one another.