BY: SHANTY FIERRO
Following the tragic events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) just a few short weeks ago, government officials are left with the task of preventing an incident like this from occurring ever again. While I believe that the most efficient solution would be stricter gun control laws, there have been other solutions proposed by concerned parents and legislators alike. Some suggest there be metal detectors placed in schools, others want more security personnel present. Although some of these solutions have controversy associated with them, none is worse than the idea of arming teachers.
This idea has been proposed before by National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre. Following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary back in 2012, LaPierre stated, “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.” However, this cannot be further from the truth. According to Vox, a study, led by a Boston University School of Public Health researcher, found that, “1 percent increase in gun ownership correlated with a 0.9 percent rise in the firearm homicide rate at the state level.” This suggests that the more people that have guns, the higher the gun death rate. With this research in mind, why would anyone think that arming teachers is an intelligent strategy?
Moreover, there has already been a case where a teacher who was armed fired shots in his classroom and barricaded himself inside for about 45 minutes. This report coming from NBC News stated that the teacher was in custody, but luckily no students were harmed. If events like this can happen only weeks after a mass shooting, some students may not feel safe knowing that there is a gun inside their classroom. In addition to the possible distractions the thought may cause while a student is trying to learn, there is also the frightening possibility that a student may get their hands on it, and another tragedy can occur.
Adding on to safety issues, there is also the obstacle of obtaining proper funding. There are schools all across America that have worn out textbooks, unreliable technology and insufficient supplies for the students. The government claims they cannot afford to help these schools, and are constantly cutting the budget for education. However, I hope the people in power realize that paying for teachers to take classes on how to handle a firearm and providing a firearm for each teacher will cost a large sum of money, money that they claim “not to have”. Instead of spending all of this money to bring more guns into schools, why not invest in modern school supplies to make life easier for both teachers and students?
Lastly, a teacher’s main job is to teach. That is what they go to college to learn how to do. That is all they should be required to do. Teachers have enough trouble meeting the standards of the school boards, dealing with troubled children and whatever they may be going through in their personal lives. They have enough stress on their plate, and adding the responsibility of knowing how to operate a firearm, and having one in class is too much to add.
There is no doubt in my mind that many teachers will do whatever it takes to protect their students. That heroism was demonstrated by the teachers and staff of Marjory Stoneman Douglas on Feb. 14. There are so many ways to train teachers to avoid these situations that do not involve more guns in the classroom. Teachers should be trained to detect characteristics of possible mental health problems with their students and know how to handle them accordingly. Although there were many factors that contributed to the shooting at MSD, the main problem was an AR-15. Clearly, putting more guns in school is not beneficial for students or teachers alike.