The Effectivity Of Arming Teachers With Guns To Protect The Students

Gun-related violence in schools has been on the rise in the recent past. The outcome of most of the incidences has been fatal resulting in the loss of lives. This has caused a debate on whether arming teachers with guns would help counter the upcoming trend of gun violence. For some of the cases, some people have pointed out that fatalities could have been minimal if teachers had guns as they could have tried to defend their students against the shooter. This raises a number of issues which unless addressed, the resolve to arm teachers would prove futile.

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Security in schools is one of the factors that contribute to a conducive learning environment. The cases of shooting reported, therefore, has generated panic causing students, parents, schools’ administration as well as the government worry as the solution to the menace. According to Proulx, the President of the United States of America had in early this year suggested that arming teachers would solve the problem. The president, in this case, was referring to teachers who know how to handle firearms. According to the president, the cost of training these teachers would be taken care of by the federal budget with teachers receiving a bonus for carrying guns in school. The suggestion by the president has, however, received a lot of opposition and some teachers are greatly opposed to such a move. A teacher is reported to have said that the idea of arming teachers just didn’t fit and that using federal resources to train teachers on how to handle guns was not the right move as teachers have a lot of other things they require.

Another worry that caused opposition is what the idea of a teacher having a gun would do to the teacher-student relationship. This being that the role of the teacher was somehow being misunderstood by expecting that the teacher should be the one to protect the students in case of an attack. The idea of having an armed teacher in class is intriguing in that a lot of questions come to mind when thinking of such a scenario. One of the main questions that come to mind is whether it is the role of the teachers to provide security to the students. Shouldn’t the school have a security team tasked to secure the school premises from impending attack? Are the teachers victims of the shooting incidences too? How helpful would teachers be, if armed, in case of a shooting incident? Would students behave differently knowing that their teachers are armed?

It is sensible to say that in some of the shooting incidents, some teachers would have helped minimize the damage. Some argue that having a potential shooter would be discouraged to walk into a school and commit a massacre because of the knowledge about armed teachers. This is true but only in some instances as in some, arming the teacher would be making him/her an easy target to the shooter. This is due to the fact that the shooter is aware that the teacher is armed and shooting him/her first would allow the chance to execute the plan without being challenged. This raises the question of whether arming teachers is the best way to discourage potential shooters in schools. Aren’t there other alternatives that can be implemented in order to discourage potential shooters. The suggestion to have teachers armed meant to give teachers a fighting chance in case of a shooting incident. This sounds good as it would be regretful to find out that teachers could have helped to save the situation, probably by even trying to scare away the shooter if they were armed after massacre has taken place. This raises the question whether the teachers should be the ones fighting or they should have another person fighting on their behalf.

Why not have the security team fighting on behalf of the teachers and the students? Shouldn’t the teachers focus more on teaching and mentoring their students without having to worry about their security and that of their students. According to thenewsguard.com, a teacher is reported saying that the day they will ask her to carry a gun to work will be the last day for her to teach citing that her job does not entail carrying a gun but teaching and building a relationship with her students. The idea of teachers having guns in school would also have a significant effect on the teacher-student relationship as it would induce fear among students and teachers. Teachers would end up living in fear of their colleagues while students would be in fear of their teachers. It is important to note that it would be challenging to control guns in school despite any amount of training that would be offered to firearm holders. Handling a firearm requires a substantial amount of training as well as proper psychic evaluation so as to prevent casualties of any kind. In the event that the firearms are assigned to psychologically unstable teachers, bad events would occur when such a teacher is psychologically disturbed and could result in casualties. Some teachers may be fit for teaching but not handling firearms. A good example is a case of a teacher in Georgia allegedly fired a gun in a classroom causing chaos that led to an evacuation. The teacher, according to the principal, was fit to be working although the police said that the teacher had exhibited odd behavior which they termed as delusional.

Some have, however, argued that they would feel safer knowing that teachers are in a position to protect students in case of an attack. This would, however, not be the case in the event that a violent student, with intentions to cause a massacre, attacks a teacher with the aim of grabbing the gun. It is important to note that these guns in school could also be used to settle scores. In my opinion, having teachers carry guns to school would not be the best solution to the gun-related shooting menace in schools and should therefore not happen. This is mainly because the cons of having teachers armed exceed the pros. Despite the few benefits that would come with the introduction of guns to teachers, more risks would be introduced whose net effect, if they occur, would be massive. Take for example the risk of life endangerment due to the introduction of guns in school. A shooter’s gun may be available in school once in a blue moon but the permitted guns would be available every day. This would mean an increased likelihood in the occurrence of the risks involving a gun. Neither the students nor the teachers would be considered safe in such circumstances. The teacher would be turned into an easy target by the attackers who would be aware that the teacher is armed. The guns would also be used to settle scores when people disagree. It would be possible to find students attacking their teachers so as to grab their firearms probably to use them to settle scores with other students.

In the end, the guns would end up causing more damage to the lives they were meant to protect. Arming teachers would have a significant negative effect on the teacher-student relationship as well as the relationship between colleague teachers. There would be fear in schools with students fearing that something may cause the teacher to draw their firearm. Despite the fact that these teachers would be trained to handle these firearms while undergoing psychic evaluation, students would still not feel the same about their teachers. This would have a very negative effect on the process of learning which is supposed to happen when the brain is calm and relaxed. Fear causes the destruction of one’s mind blurring the cognitive process that facilitates learning.

Teachers would also live in fear of those surrounding them fearing to lose their firearm. These include fellow employees and students. They would also be distracted while teaching thus not being able to deliver maximum causing a loss to the students. As much as some would argue how safe they would feel knowing that teachers are armed to protect students, it is evident that arming teachers would have a more negative effect than positive with regard to the teacher-student relationship. Having a teacher carry a gun to school to protect the students in case of an attack is equivalent to redefining the role of a teacher to match that of a security personnel. The job of a teacher is quite demanding as it does not only entail teaching but also mentoring. Asking the teacher to play the role of the security personnel is disdaining as it shows that the work that the teacher does is not enough. To many teachers, teaching is a calling but fighting bad people is definitely not. Asking teachers to carry guns is a diversion of the solution which lies in improving the security team which is supposed to play the role of protecting the students as well as the teachers. It is evident that teachers have also been victims of these attacks.

In conclusion, having teachers carry guns to school to protect the students in case of an attack may not be a bad idea but definitely not the best to solve the gun-related attacks in schools and therefore should not be implemented. Other alternatives for dealing with such cases, like improving the security within institutions, should be sought as the implementation of this idea would expose people to risks whose mitigation strategies haven’t been worked out.

11 February 2020

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