Following the murder of a student outside Mervo High School in Baltimore, allegedly by a student from another high school, many in the community are calling for changes in laws that will give school resource officers and police more authority to arm themselves inside school buildings, WBFF-TV (FOX affiliate) reports.
On the 8th day of school, Baltimore City School Police is dealing with our 3rd gun incident this school year. 2 students shot, one fatally, and now a loaded gun recovered on one of our campuses. Accountability is needed in our city. Hugs are proving to not be enough! pic.twitter.com/CSGNcq4SNy
— Clyde Boatwright (@boatwright12) September 9, 2022
Mr Boatwright is the current president of the Maryland State Fraternal Order of Police, and he is justifiably concerned about the level of violence that seems to plague schools in the city and across the nation.
But is the answer more guns in our schools?
Baltimore City Councilman Robert Stokes, who heads Council’s Education, Workforce, and Youth Committee, the station he plans to hold another hearing to discuss what more can be done to improve safety inside city schools. “We’re going to talk about guns in schools,” he was quoted as saying.
Under current Maryland law, Baltimore City Schools officers are required to put firearms in a locked safe when they’re inside a school building. Changing the law would require action from the General Assembly, and past attempts have failed.
Forcing police to store guns away from their person while inside a school building may handcuff them and make a response to any active shooter slower, but some in the city have suggested arming teachers.
According to two former military officers, quoted in Education Week, that would be a very bad idea.
“It is not a good idea to try to do two things at once: to teach your class while you are looking over your shoulder, while you are getting prepared to use a weapon,” the trade journal quoted Paul Eaton, a retired Army major general who led operations to train troops for Operation Iraqi Freedom, as saying during a conference call organized by the American Federation of Teachers.
In some ways, giving teachers guns could deter would-be shooters, especially if they know police can’t respond fast enough. But putting guns in classrooms, on purpose, places teachers in a difficult situation and may put students in danger.
Measures to do just that have been met with sharp criticism. In June, for instance, Ohio Gov Mike DeWine, a Republican, signed a bill that would reduce training requirements for teachers to be armed at school to 24 hours. That’s much less than the firearms training required for police officers in the state and may not be sufficient.