Arming teachers is not the solution

Quinn Robinson-Duff, Opinion Columnist

With the most recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 21, returns the never-ending debate of gun control in the United States. In the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, President Trump broached the idea of a more direct solution to the problem: arming teachers in the classroom.

The idea of arming teachers in the classroom stems from the thought: “Hey, if the teachers have guns, they would be able to eliminate the shooter before they hurt anyone else.” However, at a closer glance, this solution may create an array of other problems that can occur during a crisis.

Something to consider when arming teachers on school premises is the revoking of insurance by companies who believe that armed teachers would do more harm than good. After the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, the idea of arming teachers was also heavily debated. According to the Los Angeles Times, the state of Kansas even went as far as allowing school personal with concealed carry permits to bring guns on school grounds.

“Concealed handguns on school premises pose a heightened liability risk. We have chosen not to insure schools that allow employees to carry concealed handguns,” EMC insurance says. EMC insurance provides coverage to 85 percent of the schools in Kansas. Due to insurance companies not wanting to insure schools that allow teachers to have guns, the arming of teachers as a widespread solution to the problem becomes unlikely.

Teachers already spend 40 plus hours a week helping kids with grades and after school activities. Asking them to take the time to participate in gun-training to protect the school — should the possibility of an active shooter attack arise — creates undue stress onto them and shifts the atmosphere of the school environment.

Schools are a place for students to gain knowledge and grow intellectually and socially as constructive members of society. Guns in classrooms would be a constant reminder that a shooting may occur and will always be in the back of everyone’s mind. This will cause schools to become a haven of fear.

Bringing guns to schools will effectively make them prisons with armed guards, hindering the students’ mental health and emotional wellbeing. Their only concern at school should be trying to learn, not living in the fear of a shooting.

Those who spend time in the military spend countless hours training and preparing themselves for combat. Teachers would not be able to make the same commitment that soldiers make to disengage an active shooter. Also, in a combat situation, where soldiers fire shots at one another, it can be increasingly difficult to expect the outcome. Risking whether teachers will effectively react in that scenario is too great when it comes to keeping students safe.

Another issue with bringing guns into the classroom is the higher risk that the teacher may injure a student when trying to deactivate the shooter. In a fire fight scenario, it may be difficult to avoid shooting students and personal evacuating the area, resulting in the injuries caused by the teacher pursuing the shooter. Law enforcement may also find it difficult who the active shooter is if both a teacher and an assailant are exchanging fire, resulting in the possible injury of the teacher and not the shooter.

Arming teachers provides a much greater risk to schools than people think. It’s just not a smart idea to increase the level of dangerous weapons where there are more people. Even if the users are trained professionals, accidents can happen anytime and anywhere. Plus, the atmosphere of constant fear it will create in schools, which is already depressing to some students, won’t help the situation.

Quinn Robinson-Duff is an opinion columnist for the Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]