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Arming teachers is not the answer

A+memorial+for+the+Majory+Stoneman+Douglas+shooting
A memorial for the Majory Stoneman Douglas shooting

A memorial for the Majory Stoneman Douglas shooting

A memorial for the Majory Stoneman Douglas shooting

Olivia Zimmerman, Scribe Writer

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Despite the recent attention and focus, schools shootings are not a new phenomenon. The first recorded school shooting took place on July 26, 1764. Since then, hundreds of students and staff have been murdered in acts of violence. No, school shootings aren’t new, but it feels that way, however.  Something feels different following the Majory Stonevman Douglas High School shooting that took the lives of 17 innocent victims on February 14, 2018.  Students are now organizing, demanding that legislators take action. Parents are scared to send their children off to school. Teachers now cope with the possibility of gun violence through planning and training. People are demanding action.

Since the violence in Parkland, Florida on February 14, many people have suggested potential solutions to the rampant gun violence plaguing this country. Some of these potential solutions are progressive and based in research, such as increased background checks, longer mandatory waiting periods, and ban on all automatic and semi-automatic weapons, such as the AR-15 used in the shooting. Other solutions, however, have good intentions and seemingly good solutions but fail to address the root of this epidemic. One solution, ironically, calls for arming teachers with guns. It is counter-productive, however, to think that the best solution to address widespread gun violence a proliferation of more guns. Such weapons are meant to fight attackers, but even trained officers struggle to hit their targets in a firefight; it is unreasonable to expect that from schoolteachers.

There would also likely be other unfortunate, indirect consequences.  Arming teachers could lead to a more hostile environment for Black and Latino students. Multiple studies have reported that implicit racial bias affects most people, including teachers.  The fact that four out of five teachers are white, presents a statistically skewed population. If teachers carry guns, this could lead to the injuries or deaths of students.  Students would be in a potentially a hostile,environment on a daily basis, simply by showing up to their classrooms.

Olivia Swiech, a junior, says “As someone who’s wanted to be a teacher since I was in  kindergarten, I would have to find a new career path if they decided to arm teachers. There’s so many problems that arise from that ‘solution’ it shouldn’t even be considered a solution at all”.

A common idea put out by the NRA is that a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. Last week, two good guys with guns accidentally fired them.  As shown from the events in Alexandria, VA, and Seaside, CA, where a school resource officer and teacher accidentally discharged their guns, this is a possibility  presents a threat to our students as much as a possible solution.  Even though only one person was injured during those incidents, it shows us how weak this proposal is. How many more would happen if this became a nationwide norm?
Olivia Swiech further says “Also, what if a teachers breaks and they’re the perpetrator of the shooting? Should we just arm the students as well at this point?”  This plan is ineffective, inefficient, and would cause more problems than it would solve.

Let me be clear, stricter gun legislation is not guaranteed to stop gun violence; it will, however, reduce the risk of emotional teenagers from purchasing semi-automatic and assault weapons. But, if we arm teachers, this country will never see an end to these horrific tragedies.

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