Public Schools Should Not Arm their Teachers Essay Example
There is a growing concern about the safety of schools in the US. Emergency protocols are at a place at many schools when it comes to armed individuals entering the campus but these measures do not often mitigate every possible scenario. The political memo which aims to arm teachers and faculty members fails to understand that when considering a classroom, bringing objects of violence is not something that is accepted by many. A school is not meant to expose children to guns on a daily basis as there are many reasons why arming teachers is not a viable solution.
Arming teachers with firearms is not the solution as it is enormously expensive. Each new policy implemented by school costs money. Over the past few years, changes in security have proven to be the most costly. School shootings have resulted in an increased expense towards cameras and heavy door looks, building renovations and other security measures (Watts, Stephen, Karli, and Kayla, 150). Similarly, another substantial expense would occur in arming teachers. Even if each school had a few armed teachers, the money for it would be spent at the cost of learning tools. As well as the issue of equipment, there would be a need for a widespread background check on each armed teacher. Each teacher would also have to undergo training to be considered for such a program. Elliot proposes that when it comes to basic needs, many schools are already spending over budget and countless students face problems which include a lack of basic supplies and proper infrastructure (Elliot, 523). Regular maintenance of the firearms would also be required and as the weapons would need to be on campus, purchasing and maintaining proper storage would also be necessary.
Inefficiency of Handguns
Teachers should not be armed as a single training class and clearing of a test does not guarantee a successful shot. The plan to arm teachers involves handguns that are easy to maneuver. The abilities of these handguns are limited. According to the research carried out by Price, in past incidents, school shootings have almost always involved assault weapons, therefore an armed teacher may not even get a single shot before the entire classroom is fired upon (Price, 235). In the most likely scenario, a school shooter would enter the classroom and quickly start shooting everyone. Hence, there may not be enough time for the teacher to reach out for the handgun. If an armed teacher could hear the shooter approaching nearer, they would then have to position themselves in plain sight to the shooter for an accurate shot. This could very easily result in the teacher being shot before offering any kind of protection to the students. A lot of practice is required for using a handgun accurately. Professions that involve the regular use of firearms also have the responsibility of offering regular practice sessions.
Becoming a Target
Arming teachers is not the answer as even unarmed teachers would become a target and be put in extreme danger. Nowadays, teachers already live with the anxiety of their classroom being the next target of a school shooting. Rossi claims that adding guns only increases the likelihood of teachers getting shot as they become a target (Rossi, 2). A school shooter would make it a point to target the teacher first cause they would be aware that the teachers are armed with handguns. School shooters may not even be the culprits as any type of criminal trespassing on campus would first try to reach for the teacher's firearm. It could also be students with ill intents that target their own teachers. Many teachers could also be more at risk as several of them stay after hours when there are fewer people around. The plan for arming teachers involves arming only a small portion of them at every campus. As a result, most school shooters would not have the knowledge of which teachers possess the firearm and which teachers do not hence, putting all the faculty under risk.
The added burden of carefully carrying a handgun to the school campus, and staying extra vigilant will only put more pressure on the teacher and decrease their efficiency. Teachers already have a lot of responsibility that is not really part of their job description. The children from different backgrounds have different problems are often cared for by teachers. They act as secondary parents and counselors. However, being a teacher is one of the most stressful professions in the community. Even on their days off, they worry about their students. Taking up the responsibility of firearms will add to the stress they already face. According to Berg, Juliette and Dewey teachers would feel an added obligation to the protection of their students and the stress of perfecting this new skill (Berg, Juliette, and Dewey, 122). As teachers always want the best for their students they would put in their maximum effort for the cause. A teacher would naturally want to know how to shoot well but even then, the chances for defeating a school shooter with a handgun are slim. The high expectations would cause some severe stress and the time is taken away from preparing lessons is just another reason why teachers should not be armed.
The fear of weapons should not get in the way of teachers doing their daily jobs. There are many teachers and students as well that are fearful of guns. Forcing a weapon on someone is not acceptable. Teachers may simply resign when not given a choice. The situation is made worse by introducing guns into a classroom. The risk to the students, the training expectations and ground realities as well as the threat imposed on the teachers should be enough motive for supporting the ban on arming teachers.
Berg, Juliette K., and Dewey Cornell. "Authoritative School Climate, Aggression toward Teachers, and Teacher Distress in Middle School." School Psychology Quarterly 31.1 (2016): 122.
Elliott, Rebekah. "The Real School Safety Debate: Why Legislative Responses Should Focus on Schools and Not on Guns." Ariz. L. Rev. 57 (2015): 523.
Price, James H., et al. "Reducing the Risks of Firearm Violence in High Schools: Principals’ Perceptions and Practices." Journal of Community Health 41.2 (2016): 234-243.
Rossi, Peter H. Armed and Considered Dangerous: A Survey of Felons and their Firearms. Routledge, 2017.
Watts, Stephen J., Karli Province, and Kayla Toohy. "The Kids Aren’t Alright: School Attachment, Depressive Symptoms, and Gun Carrying at School." American Journal of Criminal Justice 44.1 (2019): 146-165.