Teachers: Armed Educators Not The Answer To School Violence

A memorial message at the site of the school shooting earlier this month.

A memorial message at the site of the school shooting earlier this month.

Mikayla Kemp provided information for this report
OSWEGO COUNTY – In the wake of yet another deadly shooting spree at a school, president Trump has suggested arming teachers would help put an end to the carnage.

Some area teachers, however, don’t think that is a good idea. They say other options should be explored first.

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A memorial message at the site of the school shooting earlier this month.

According to one county teacher, The notion of arming teachers should only be considered only after all other options have been exhausted. The sad truth is that very few options have been looked at or attempted in large part because of the NRA’s financial grip on the legislative branch, one area teacher said.

“I am a gun owner and I support the Second Amendment, but I do not believe assault weapons should be in the hands of civilians. Before we even contemplate putting guns in the hands of classroom teachers, I think there are several common sense initiatives that could be implemented,” they told Oswego County Today.

The educator continued:

The first thing Congress should do is bring back the Assault Weapons Ban (1994-2004). After the ban is reinstated, the federal government could offer a buy back of any assault weapons, say $2,000 per weapon, no questions asked, this would get thousands of assault weapons off the streets. Yes this could be costly but it would be peanuts compared to the money our government wastes on a daily basis.

Background checks: The federal government saw fit to attempt to mandate the Common Core to all 50 states but won’t do the same for universal background checks?

Last month our president reversed an Obama era regulation that kept guns out of the hands of mentally unstable people, that legislation should be reinstated tomorrow.

In addition to those suggestions, we need more resources for mental health in our schools. Getting kids the help they need before they get the notion of brigning a gun into schools is paramount. Unfortunately the needs of some of these kids can not be met by the professionals we have in our school.

If documentations indicate a child who is disrupting a school or has violent tendencies, a school should be able to suspend that child until the parents can provide documentation that they have gotten the child professional, clinical help. The school could provide a list of providers, help with paper work, look for financial aid and transportation. If the parent refuses, the child should not be allowed to come back to school and the matter should be turned over to law enforcement and or Social Services (which need a massive increase in funding by the way).

When the family can prove the child is getting the treatment/ services they need, they then can come back to school. Schools pretend that we have all the expertise and answers for students that are mentally unstable which is untrue and a disservice to those students.

Lastly, if we are going to have people in schools carrying guns, those people should be professionally trained law enforcement officers, period.

Teachers have proven that we will give our lives to protect our students, it is a natural reaction to us and we ask for no additional praise for that mentality.

Putting guns in the hands of teachers and potentially asking us to shoot one of our students to protect others is both an asinine and impractical solution.

It also helps the NRA with its ultimate goal which is to help the gun manufacturers that pay them to sell as many guns as possible.

When Congress starts putting the lives of students over gun sales, perhaps the suggestions I have offered and others ideas can be debated and enacted, the sooner the better as our kids lives depend on it.

Another teacher replied:

“In short, I think that arming teachers, administrators, and other school personnel is a bad idea. Having a police officer or trained guard at every school is one thing; but teachers and principals having firearms is another,” they said. “We were trained to help students learn. Had I been interested in becoming skilled in using a firearm, I would have chosen another profession. Instead I chose to help students learn the subject I teach and firing a weapon was never part of the thought process.”

They continued:

This profession is stressful and having a firearm would only add the stress of the job.

If an intruder ever came into the building and I had to decide if I could fire a gun to stop that intruder, while also trying to decide if that shot could happen without hitting a student would be more than I could handle.

I can only imagine the grief and guilt that would enter a person’s mind if they hit the student and not the intruder.

I don’t think that students would feel better knowing that some teachers are armed.

Imagine spending your English class wondering if the teacher in the front of the room had a holstered gun.

That does not make for an environment that is conducive to learning.

Other comments

“Every state needs to have a background check system like NYS has. The federal government mandated the Common Core but won’t do the same for background checks for guns? Pathetic.”

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“Well – in our high school we have a SRO who I trust to protect our building. So, I don’t think it is necessary to arm teachers. Our job is hard enough these days without adding the responsibility of carrying a gun. I can see where it may be added security and maybe be deterrent to a shooting – there are many things I think could also go wrong. I believe practicing responses to emergency situations and students being educated about reporting things they hear or see would be a more sensible solution.”

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“Arm me with a school psychologist at my school who has time to do more than test and sit in meetings about testing. Arm me with enough counselors so we can build skills to prevent violence, have meaningful discussions with students about their future and not merely frantically adjust student schedules like a Jenga game. Arm me with more days on the calendar for teaching and learning, and fewer days for standardized testing.’

One teacher declined comment except for: “There was too much to be said.”