School shootings have been making headlines across America for the better part of a decade now. With these tragedies has come debate; should teachers be allowed to concealed carry?
Somehow–amidst all the pushes and legislation for harsher gun laws and control–this is a legitimate question people are asking. Putting guns into childrens’ classrooms is a huge mistake, largely because teachers haven’t been trained to be concealed carriers, there are better solutions than arming teachers, and this whole issue is bigger than “school shootings.”
At its base, this argument isn’t as simple as “placing guns in classrooms.” Learning to use firearms is a time sink and responsibility that teachers shouldn’t be burdened with, and it’s unfair to expect them to learn. Do teachers really need to spend time worrying about the day they need to take down a potential threat, rather than sitting and grading papers? It’s not what they’ve signed up for, they don’t need the stress.
Not to mention that it’s going to linger in the back of students’ minds that their teachers are carrying around guns. Teachers are supposed to be there to educate their students, not strike fear into their hearts. If we put guns into our teacher’s hands, we’re only encouraging violence as a solution to our problems. The threat of getting shot doesn’t matter to a school shooter who’s already suicidal. It’s going to weigh on students more than it will a potential threat.
Not to mention, teachers are only human. They aren’t always perfect, and they’re not always good people either. If we’re placing guns in classrooms, how long is it before teachers are threatening to shoot students for misbehaving? How long is it before a teacher misplaces a gun, and a student causes damage or injuries that could have been avoided? Guns inherently make school a more dangerous place, their very presence invites trouble. If students are feeling unsafe or uncertain at schools now, they’ll really feel unsafe seeing safes sitting in the corners of classrooms.
There are ultimately better solutions to putting guns in classrooms. There are alternative solutions to arming teachers, such as hiring and deploying actual armed guards. Then, students would have the added security that parents have been requesting, and the pressure is off teachers. Armed guards could respond faster than the police, and deter potential shooters through sheer presence alone.
And another option–and this one might sound absolutely insane–is actually investing in our mental health and infrastructure. Students already feel like teachers and counselors don’t care about them. When this happens, they don’t have a safe place at home, at school, and they have no outlet for their anger and emotions. With nothing and no one to turn to, they begin thinking that they have no future. They only want to hurt others the way they’ve been hurt, and spread more pain and suffering.
All of which could be avoided if they simply talked to someone. Or if they felt safe enough to reach out to a counselor, therapist, or a teacher.
Placing guns in classrooms is only a “bandaid” fix so that legislatures and school districts can avoid talking about our actual problems. School shootings aren’t something that’s as simple as “little Timmy got his hands on a gun.”
Years of bullying, abuse, and trauma are what make school shooters. There are already systematic issues with mental health, and rampant failures with parenting in the last generation. Children and students are already being neglected and hurt in our current school systems. Combine all that with the system treating students like they’re a bunch of worthless factory workers, and it’s a disaster waiting to happen.
If it isn’t school shootings, its suicides and abuse being bottled up for future partners and friends. It might sound preferable to an actual shooting, but the reality of it is that none of it is okay. People are going to end up dead or hurt regardless of whether or not Ms. Smith is allowed to carry a gun.
At the end of the day, this entire debate is ridiculous because it’s indicative of larger failures in our country.
Equipping teachers with guns isn’t going to stop shootings. Training them to recognize and handle signs of abuse, neglect, and suffering is what’s going to save lives in the long run. If we’re still worried about students now, then there are still alternatives to arming teachers that we can pursue. If we really want to stop school shootings, we need to stop pushing political agendas and actually help the people we see suffering.