Teachers Teach

Teachers Teach

Isabella Rocha, Contributor

After the school shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018 that claimed the lives of 3 teachers and 14 students, both national and state legislations have been trying to find ways to prevent these school shootings from happening. Some states are even considering the idea of arming teachers.

In August, Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos was considering allowing states to use federal funds from the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to purchase guns for teachers. However, these funds are meant to provide students with a well-rounded education and improve school conditions and the use of technology. In addition, in my opinion, arming teachers is not the solution for preventing school shootings.

The funding from the ESSA could be going to schools who need the funding rather than using the money to provide teachers with guns. Almost half of the schools in low-income communities are not getting the funding they need to provide students with the resources they need to succeed academically. The ESSA is a $1 billion student support program meant to help students with education, mental health, bullying and harassment, and violence prevention. If states decide to use this federal grant to arm teachers, then they are putting the students at a disadvantage by not using the funds to provide the resources they need. The funds from the ESSA are meant to provide students with the education they need. These funds are not meant to be used to arm teachers.

Back in March, a reserve officer in California was teaching a safety lesson to students. During the lesson, the teacher fired the gun at the ceiling, and a student was injured by a fragment of the bullet or debris from the ceiling. The student was injured, but the outcome could have been much worse. Also in March, a school resource officer accidentally fired his weapon at a Virginia school, and a few weeks ago, a student was sleeping in class when the school resource officer used their taser to wake them up. The reserve officer and school resource officers are all trained on how to use the equipment they are provided with. They go through training, but something can still go wrong. Teachers are not school resource or reserve officers. If officers can accidentally misuse a gun or a taser, then so could a teacher who is armed. In addition, police accuracy during gunfights is eighteen percent. The accuracy for teachers during gunfights would be lower, given that it is not a teacher’s job to shoot and they would not have the same training that police officers get.

There are students and staff at Somerset Berkley who are against the idea of arming teachers. One student believes that if teachers were armed, “It would be easy for a student to attack or knock out a teacher and get their gun.” When asked what their opinion on it was, one student said, “We shouldn’t have to have weapons in a building that is supposed to be welcoming and a learning space for children. Ninety-five percent of school shooters were current students at the school, so why would we provide easy access to guns at school?” By trying to make schools safer by arming teachers, students wouldn’t feel safe. Some students have the strength to overpower a teachers, and take their weapon. This puts the school in danger instead of making it safer. One teacher believes that carrying a gun and possibly having to take down an armed intruder is “a huge responsibility and burden to have.” They also claimed that they “don’t know if it’s necessarily appropriate for teachers to be armed. School resource officers should be armed.”

Instead of arming teachers to take down a shooter, schools should be focusing on preventing the emotional and social reasoning a student has to bring a gun to school and cause harm to their classmates. A teacher at the school stated, “School adjustment counselors are important. Everyone’s job in school is to observe and pay attention and report when something’s wrong.” They believe that more school adjustment counselors will be more beneficial in preventing school shootings than arming teachers.
Teachers teach. Police officers carry guns. Let’s keep it that way.