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Arming Educators: Bad Idea

by Samuel Abels

In the wake of the Stoneman Douglas High School massacre by Nicholas Cruz in Parkland, FL, the United States of America has once again found itself in the rather circular debate on gun control measures.

The liberal left wishes to induce total restriction of high-caliber firearms, while the conservative right does nothing more than reject their claims and demands. Frankly, anytime a tragedy occurs and the debate cycle winds up once more, the nation finds itself in a rut, up to our eyeballs in solutions we tread and retread again and again until the life and energy is practically gone from it to become nothing more than some political talking point. But President Donald Trump has his own ideas on how we as Americans can contain this, and while it does hold a degree of truth, I question how this would pan out.

Speaking with the survivors and parents of the Parkland tragedy last week, President Trump not only took questions and comments from people of all ages, but he also provided some of his own thoughts on what should be done to prevent a future travesty. His suggestion: arming our educators, or at the very least, roughly 20 percent of teachers.

“We have to harden our schools, not soften them up,” Trump said. “A gun free zone to a killer, that’s like going in for ice cream. Here I am–take me.” He added, “Shooters won’t walk into a school if 20 percent of people are armed.”

President Trump has also proposed a ban on bump stocks (additions that make a weapon fire ammunition at a faster rate), and is seemingly in favor of some sort of bipartisan legislation to strengthen background checks into potential gun purchasers. But his suggestion of arming teachers alone seems rather troublesome.

Whether the instructor might be adept at using a weapon in a legal fashion or not, that alone would change the atmosphere of public education itself. The air would become different from what pupils are already exposed to and perhaps fear would become instilled rather than a healthy respect for the makeup of the scenario.  

Consider this: the teacher is going through a dark period in their lives and they decide to put their weapon to use on the students which they govern. That would mean a turn for the worse, but it is something I don’t believe President Trump is thinking all the way through in terms of potential hassles.

Plus, an active shooter situation is obviously already chaotic and terrifying, so it’s not going to be to anyone’s benefit if the shooter and the armed protector of the student body decide to engage in a shootout reminiscent of the days of the Wild West.

This is a horrible idea. Instead, utilize what we already have at our disposal. Root out weak links, construct new ones, put more armed officers outside our country’s campuses, perhaps even seek out former military service members, if there are any willing to do so. But on top of everything else, consider what teachers already contend with: lesson plans, tests, irate parents, meetings and training. Teachers truly do not need to keep storage in the back of their mind for a firearm and its potential usage.

*The views expressed by the author of this article are not those held by the Chronicle.


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