Sunday, July 12, 2020
US flag

Would arming teachers help?

Occasionally the idea is put forth that teachers in our schools should have ready access to a firearm, just in case an active shooter storms into their classrooms shooting up the place.

State Rep Patrick Neville, who attended Columbine High School in 1999 when Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris carried out a massacre that left 15 people including the shooters dead, introduced a bill in the Colorado House this week that would allow individuals with concealed carry permits to bring their guns into K-12 classrooms.

  • The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that teacher training programs at some universities have begun addressing the active shooter drills that are now common and confronting the question: Am I required to take a bullet for my students?

Mr Neville clearly believes that having more guns in the school will actually reduce the risk of loss of life. I have given this idea considerable thought, because, like just about everybody else, I refuse to throw away any idea at all that has even the smallest chances of bringing about a solution. But as I engage in the argument, here’s the problem:

Assuming a teacher with a Glock could stop a madman with an AR-15, take the idea to the next level. When crazy people with guns can’t commit massacres on school grounds anymore because all the teachers have guns, they’re likely to turn to malls, concert venues, and other places where large numbers of people congregate, such as churches.

Then calls will be made to arm cashiers and retail clerks, then waiters and waitresses, then ministers and ushers, and so on, and so on.

Pretty soon, everybody will have a gun, and the chances of it going off accidentally increase, thus also increasing the chance that it will cause the death of a person. This probability alone would also force many good teachers out of the profession permanently. If I had to come to a workplace where concealed weapons were allowed, I would quit.

The world may take years and years to get to that point, but once the train gets rolling, it’s very difficult to stop it in its tracks. School shootings are an emotional subject because they involve the murder of children in situations that are normally far removed from murder. But teachers are not first responders; nor are they trained in police procedures. Arming teachers will inevitably lead to questions about the training their districts require in order to satisfy community members’ concerns about the safety of bringing a gun into a school building.

Maybe I’m missing something, and I encourage you to post comments to this opinion piece. Even if arming teachers is a part of a solution, though, it is not the complete solution, so we’re going to have to reject as short-sighted any comment that proposes only one solution strategy. (There is no single complete solution. Not even beefing up the mental health corps in the US is a complete solution on its own.)

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Voxitatis congratulates the COVID Class of 2020

2020 is unique and, for high school graduates, different from anything they've seen. Proms, spring sports, & many graduation ceremonies are cancelled. Time for something new.

Vertical addition (m3.nbt.2) math practice

3rd grade, numbers and operations in base 10, 2, 3-digit vertical addition practice problem

Rubber ducks (m3.oa.1) math practice

3rd grade, operational and algebraic thinking, 1, rubber ducky modeling practice problem

Distance learning begins as Covid-19 thrives

What we learn during & from coronavirus, a challenging & imminent crisis, will provide insights into so many aspects of our lives.

Calif. h.s. choir sings with social distancing

Performances with the assistance of technology can spread inspiration across the globe even as the coronavirus spreads illness and disease.

Families plan to stay healthy during closures

Although schools are doing what they can to keep students learning and healthy during the coronavirus outbreak, that duty now shifts to parents.

Illinois temporarily closes all schools

IL schools will be closed on Tuesday, March 17, through at least March 30. Schools in 18 states are now closed due to coronavirus.

Coronavirus closures & cancellations

Many schools are closed and sports tournaments cancelled across America during what the president called a national emergency: coronavirus.

Coronavirus closes schools in Seattle

The coronavirus pandemic has caused colleges to cancel classes, and now Seattle Public Schools became the nation's first large district to cancel classes due to the virus.

Most detailed images ever of the sun

A new telescope at the National Solar Observatory snapped the most detailed pictures of the sun's surface we have ever seen.

Feds boost Bay funding

Restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed received a boost in federal funding in the budget Congress passed last month.