Is Arming Teachers the Appropriate Strategy to Combat School Shootings?

By AMANDA ARNOLD:

Following the recent school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, President Donald Trump proposed multiple solutions to this continuing epidemic.

Trump believes arming teachers and posting gun-toting veterans in schools could prevent and stop school shooters. He proposed to arm 20 percent of school teachers.  This would mean training and arming around 640,000 people nationwide.

Time Magazine quoted Trump during a listening session in Tallahassee on gun control, “An attack has lasted, on average, about three minutes. It takes 5 to 8 minutes for responders, for police to come in. If you had a teacher who is adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly…” Listen to the rest of President Trump’s proposal here.

In addition, President Trump also expressed his desire to strengthen background checks and considered raising the age limit to buy certain types of guns. He also announced he would be signing a memorandum to implement regulations banning bump stocks.

Trump’s proposals have caused tremendous controversy. Following Trump’s statement, Time Magazine shared a bystanders point-of-view writing, “rather than arm them (teachers) with a firearm, I would rather arm them with the knowledge of how to prevent these acts from happening in the first place.” Many American’s don’t want to give this extra responsibility and pressure to teachers. Nor do they want to see a shoot-out in a school setting.

These events and regulations have not only effected the friends and family of the victims but millions of people around the country.

Let’s discuss this on a local level. Would Assumption College professors be comfortable carrying a firearm to class? Would they feel comfortable using this weapon in a time of need? And, what would students think and feel knowing their professor was potentially carrying a gun?

I had the privilege of talking with Lynn Simmons, Graphic Design Professor at Assumption College, who shared her thoughts on this proposal. When asked if she would be comfortable carrying a firearm to class Lynn answered, “I would not be comfortable carrying a firearm at all, let alone to class, and I am absolutely appalled at the suggestion. In my opinion having a weapon in the classroom would induce a culture of policing, reinforce anxiety and fear, as well as provide the potential for that firearm to be misused either by the teacher or by forceful removal from the teacher.” Her reaction seems to be shared by many American’s who are appalled that arming teachers would be considered a solution to this problem.

I then asked Lynn if she would be willing to participate in firearm training. She answered, “No, not at all. I believe that having guns produces more guns, which reinforces this culture of gun violence. It is not a sane solution to the situation.” Lynn speaks for many teachers, not only at Assumption but around the country, who would not be willing to participate in this type of training. In closing, Lynn said:

I strongly believe that this is a spiritual and moral crisis. A tragedy of epic proportions fueled by greed and misguided perceptions of patriarchal power, and what it means to have individual rights. We need as a nation to be more compassionate, tearing down walls rather than building them up. To be messengers of peace rather than deliverers of conflict and fear of the other.”

My interview with Lynn provided great insight into a teacher’s point-of-view. In addition, I felt it was important to get a current Assumption student’s point-of-view because they too would be effected by this proposal.

I also sat down with Cody Lynn, senior at Assumption College who shared his thoughts on arming teachers. When asked if he would be comfortable knowing his professor was potentially carrying a firearm he answered, “I would only be comfortable if I knew they had went through extensive training to do so.” He then said, “I don’t think arming teachers would prevent school shooters but, it could discourage some who are thinking about it.”

Similar to Lynn, Cody was also skeptical on this proposal. He felt it wasn’t the best way to address the issue. Cody suggested:

“More effective background checks with people under the age of 21 and acting better on the intelligence and tips the community provides on the individuals who may cause harm. Also, if students could be more kind to one another and recognize when someone is hurting that could go a long way.”

American’s don’t agree with arming teachers. This only regulates more guns and causes anxiety among students and faculty. Both Lynn and Cody believe the problem is within the school and among individuals. Spreading kindness and addressing suspicious behaviors may make all the difference. But something needs to be done, and fast.

 

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