No Gun Zone, Not Pro Gun Zone


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Wayne Chan, Editor-in-Chief

Legislative Action to Arm Teachers to Mitigate School Shootings

If a plague broke out, the government would not give patients medical equipment and call them doctors. If another ferocious blaze scorched California, the government would not give out water guns to residents and call them firefighters. Why then do certain politicians see fit that teachers should be armed with lethal weaponry in light of school shootings?

After the school shooting in Parkland, FL, 14 states introduced 25 measures to arm school teachers. While it may seem like school shootings are defining the news cycle, the situation is not so desperate, as illustrated by politicians, that such extreme measures are worth exploring. Moreover, the notion that teachers can somehow protect students using firearms in a school environment without simultaneously endangering them is naive. The simple truth is there are much more moderate and acceptable solutions.

In 1992 .55 students per million were shot on school campus. In 2015 the number is down to .15 students per one million. Despite the increasing fears of school shootings and intensifying political polarization, school shootings have empirically decreased. Legislation to go beyond conventional measures to increase security, while risking safety students, are gratuitous and superfluous. Legislations that propose to arm teachers are merely knee-jerk political reactions. Simply put, you would not opt to brain surgery for a migraine. Analogously, if the problem is on a self-mitigating course, there is no demand for such extreme policies.

Arming teachers is not only unnecessary, but incredibly dangerous to a school environment. While they would prove to be immediate first responders to a school shooting, inadequately trained teachers would only contribute more to the chaos. The Violence Policy Center reported that in armed confrontations, even trained law enforcement officers have an accuracy of 20%. Imagine in a active school shooting where teachers, who will undoubtedly have less training than officers, are equipped to spray and pray. Students could be easily caught in the crossfire. Intuitively, teachers are meant to educate, not act in the place of law enforcement. Aside from the hazards of school shootings, which statistically will not happen for most schools, abundance of weaponry on campus becomes a daily issue. Guns would have to be kept in safes or teachers would have to be trained to respond with violence in the event potential school shooters attempt to wrestle the gun from teachers. School shooters could predicate their plans on acquiring the weaponry from teachers on campus. The presence of firearms at the proposed amount would plainly be detrimental to the security and overall atmosphere of an educational environment.

There are more moderate solutions to explore before arming teachers with such firearms. Tasers and pepper sprays are a non lethal options that would offer some versatility for teachers without the risk of killing a student in a crossfire or having the weapon be used by students to commit a school shooting. Adding more resource officers to schools would station more actually trained responders in a school shooting situation. Certainly, solutions with more solvency and less risk can be explored before hastily arming educators.