More Guns; More Chaos

Opinion by Lauren Steele

SP-LaurenHow close are you to your teachers? Are you close enough to be comfortable in their classrooms knowing that they would be armed? I’m close with some of my teachers, but not that close. According to Donald Trump, arming “gun adept teachers” is the best option for the United States. It’s not. Even Joel Myrick, a former assistant principal who survived a school shooting by chasing the shooter with his own gun, realizes that arming teachers is not the right approach.

“Teachers have to teach, and that’s what they should be doing,” Myrick told the New York Times. No matter what experience or background a teacher has, they should not be armed while at school. As a current student, I know that not all student/teacher relationships are perfect. I have had my fair share of teachers: some that I’m very close with and others that I don’t always agree with. Even if the most liked teachers were the ones given guns, there is bound to be at least one student who would still feel unsafe. One major concern is that if a teacher actually needed to shoot that they would miss and shoot the wrong person. Other concerns include students getting ahold of their teacher’s gun too easily, or even a teacher getting too mad and shooting out of stress or anger. Teachers have a responsibility to teach us, not to “protect” us by being armed. The answer to ending school shootings is not to put more guns in schools, it just doesn’t make sense.

Not unconnected, schools are finally working on recognizing their own racial biases and microaggressions towards students by teachers. Research shows that arming teachers would foster a hostile environment causing students, especially African-Americans and Latinos to feel unsafe. People of these races and backgrounds already worry when it comes to law enforcement. Recent events show that even police officers struggle to contain their racial bias when encountering someone of a different background. We only have to look at Sacramento and Philadelphia to see trained officers acting out of those biases. Now Trump wants to cause students to have to worry while they’re at school as well? Arming teachers would result in heightened anxiety for students of color. Teachers are supposed to make students feel safe-this would just do the opposite. Arming these teachers would not be wise. It doesn’t matter if they’re “gun adept” or not.

In February of 2018, President Trump tweeted that “a ‘gun free’ school is a magnet for bad people.” He also claimed that “ATTACKS WOULD END!” as a result of arming teachers. He continuously refers to school shooters as “sickos,” but arming teachers would not cause these “sickos” to disappear. Giving a gun to one wrong teacher is all it takes for disaster to strike. Even a part-time teacher in California, who also works as a local police officer, accidentally fired his gun in a classroom. Another teacher in Georgia, who did not have permission to have a gun on school grounds, fired his gun out of aggravation. It’s clear that no teacher should have permission to carry a gun while at school, no matter what sort of background they have.

It’s one thing to have armed police officers or law enforcement on school grounds, but a teacher is a whole different story. Trump believes that his plan will “instantly” solve the problem of active shooters. He also claimed that arming teachers would stop shooters from entering schools because the shooters are cowards. However, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had an armed resource officer, and that didn’t stop Nikolas Cruz from entering the building and killing 17 people. If this armed resource officer didn’t stop Cruz, why would any armed teacher stop a different shooter?

Arming teachers would cause more harm than it would good. If anything, it puts students at more risk by placing guns in what is supposed to be a safe environment. Teachers and administrators do important work, as do police and other law enforcement. We need to let teachers teach and leave protection to the professionals.