The Eagle Angle

Is it really effective to arm teachers?

Maya Morriswala, Jr. managing editor

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After the Parkland shooting, I was shaken. Of course, I can’t possibly comprehend the fear and horror felt by the students that were there, and I hope I will never have to understand. However, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t care about how this issue is solved. After all, not only will Allen High School feel the effects of any new national legislation –– every single high school in the nation will be affected.

The one solution that makes the most sense, at least to me, is to ban automatic weapons as well as features that can make weapons automatic, because they are the root of the issue. But I do realize that this is a somewhat radical proposition to some, so I understand why people would want to pass more gradual reforms first, like more background checks and raising the age for purchasing firearms. However, President Trump’s suggestion to arm our educators will not be effective in solving this gun issue.

When you first think about it, it seems reasonable that giving teachers guns would allow more lives to be saved and even scare off any potential school shooters. But actually, arming teachers would do none of these things and may even produce the opposite effect.

For one thing, expecting teachers to eagerly spend both money and time to become trained firearm users is absurd. Teachers already have to pay for the majority of their school supplies, so who expects them to buy a gun and get a license on their own time? Yes, the government could provide funding for a certain number of teachers to get a license, but you don’t even have to crunch the numbers to realize how ridiculously expensive this endeavor is. It would cost less just to ban all automatic weapons entirely.

But let’s ignore the cost for now and suppose a third of the teachers at each school each legally brings a weapon. At this point, one may think the money is worth it since all the students are protected. This could not be farther from the truth. Now, students live in constant fear because guns, the things we are trying to prevent from entering schools in the first place, are all around the school. Teachers should not have to be responsible for hiding and locking up their guns, hoping no one finds and steals it. Should teachers just have their guns on them at all times, then? That is an even more frightening prospect for students.

Also, consider that anyone who thinks about attacking a school, sadly, probably does not take their own lives into account. In Columbine, the shooters committed suicide. In Sandy Hook, the perpetrator committed suicide. In many cases, the attackers are aware that they aren’t going to get away with their murders, and they decide that suicide is a better option than a life sentence or the death penalty. Therefore, arming teachers is not going to dissuade many shooters from attacking a school.

Even in the event of an actual school shooting, armed teachers do not exactly prevent loss of life. If anything, it complicates the situation. When the SWAT team shows up to evacuate the school and sees multiple people with guns, they won’t know who the actual enemy is and may accidentally try to take down the wrong person.

Additionally, the psychological stress that comes with shooting a gun can be absolutely paralyzing. Even if the teacher knows that the person they are trying to shoot is obviously in the wrong, they may understandably be incapable of shooting another human being in a stressful situation — not to mention how scarring it would be if the teacher were to kill the perpetrator or accidentally harm an innocent student.

Arming our educators would be a very problematic solution to a very serious problem. It is important to consider the consequences of such actions before putting the idea out to the public. In my opinion, we should not be attacking this horrific problem of school shootings by adding more guns to the equation. To truly fight this issue, we must minimize the risk of another horrible shooting happening again, and the only way to do this is not through “quick fixes” and asking teachers to become underpaid security guards. We must get all these automatic weapons, created only for the purpose to kill, off our streets, and most importantly, we must allow teachers to focus on teaching us the lessons that can propel us to a brighter and more peaceful future.

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