Why Arming Teachers Would Make Schools Much More Dangerous

Jack Marker, staff writer

In light of the recent school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, President Trump tweeted the controversial idea that teachers should be armed and taught how to fire a weapon with thorough training in order to protect their students. This concept has three major flaws: teachers should not be expected to engage in armed conflict; having a gun in the teacher’s desk grants easier access to firearms for potential shooters; guns in school promote an atmosphere of fear.

The first major reason why the idea is flawed is because movies such as James Bond, Die Hard, and Jason Bourne all portray the killing of another human as easy. When in reality, “if placed in an active shooter situation while armed, [most people] will not be able to stop the situation, and may, in fact, do little more than get themselves killed in the process,” multiple simulations by Vox have demonstrated. When faced with a life or death situation, we do not know how we would act. Would you run to the danger or away from the danger? Would you hide or attempt to apprehend? Even people with training don’t always perform as expected in a crisis situation. For example, Scot Peterson, the armed security guard at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, waited outside the school as the shooting occurred.

Most people, including teachers, would not know how they would act until they found themselves in the situation, which would be too late. Even the members of the military, who have had extensive training over long periods of time, make mistakes under extreme pressure. The John Hopkins News-Letter explains, “Additionally, teachers themselves are almost universal in their opposition to the proposal.” Why would we arm teachers when they do not want to be armed? In a nightmare scenario, would a teacher, if threatened, use a gun on an unarmed student?

The second major reason this idea is flawed is arming teachers allows for easier access to guns on school grounds. Statistics produced by Campus Safety show, “Almost all of the [school shooters] (95 percent) were current students at the school.” By having firearms on school grounds, guns could fall into the hands of the wrong people. Students could steal guns and go on a shooting rampage without premeditation. Accidental shootings could also occur during transport or while the weapons are being cleaned. It is impossible to have gun accidents when there are no guns present. Additionally, according to United Nations data, an increase in armed humans directly correlates to a larger number of armed conflicts. Increasing the number of guns isn’t the answer to providing a safer environment for students, faculty, and staff.

Having guns in school creates an atmosphere of fear. City Lab explains, “Schools are probably the safest places in our country on any given day, and we’re creating an entire generation of young people who fear being in them.” If guns are present in classrooms the majority of students will be afraid. This atmosphere of fear would inhibit student learning, make it difficult to concentrate on the curriculum, and make them uncomfortable when expressing themselves. The John Hopkins News-Letter states, “Even if the weapon is acting as a form of protection against a threat, it introduces and preserves the idea of threat and fear into the school’s culture.”

There have been too many school shootings in the United States. It is time for our government to take action to protect our citizens. Arming teachers is not the answer.