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The Reality of Arming Teachers

Concern about arming teachers has sparked a nationwide debate. The reaction consisted mostly of opposition on several grounds including cost, safety, and efficiency.

Some believe that arming our teachers would be a preposterous idea, since a significant amount of schools across our nation struggle with funding merely for their academic programs or overall structure of the school to preserve the safety of its students. Others believe that the presence of a weapon in a classroom would disrupt learning among students, while some remain who think that arming teachers would not contribute to solving gun violence in schools entirely.

Would arming our teachers really solve the increasing prevalence of gun violence in our schools? Or, would it simply result in more violence with the presence of a weapon in the classroom?

One way to find out is to consult schools who, believe it or not, have already implemented these measures.

Many small and rural districts in particular across the country have already started arming their teachers. A school district nestled just outside of Dayton, Ohio responded to our president’s call for armed teachers in schools by storing Glock handguns and bulletproof vests in its classrooms. These handguns are stored in secure chests among classroom’s books and can only be opened by means of a faculty member’s fingerprint.

In Texas, guns are allowed in schools on holsters or kept in similar safes. In Harrold Independent School District in Pennsylvania, teachers have been allowed to carry firearms since 2007 subsequent to the Amish school shooting a year prior.

Sheriff John Lenhart of Shelby County, Ohio justifies the presence of armed teachers in our schools:

“I agree with those folks who say teachers should teach and cops should be cops, but we got a mess on our hands. If I have to wait on state officials, on the federal government, on psychologists to figure out why people hurt one another, we would have nothing in our school system (Spear).”

While Sheriff Lenhart is allowed to have his concerns, I think that it would just be simpler to solve the gun violence problem in our schools by implementing stricter measures in the purchase of a firearm.

In addition to all of the responsibilities that teachers are expected to uphold, why increase their load by expecting them to undergo training to handle the event of an active shooter instead of nipping the problem in the bud?

However, just because one school district in Ohio is adamant about arming their teachers does not mean that all Ohio educators are on board with the idea. The state’s teachers’ unions have mobilized for an approach centered around gun control rather than armed brawls to protect students (Spear). Rick Cron, an armed guard at Ohio’s Sidney Middle School weighs in: “It’s the teacher’s responsibility to protect the kids, no matter what, and they do it already, but without the tools” (Spear).

So far, these rural, already-armed school districts have only responded to a few small cases of gun violence in their schools. Many use the insight that it’s “better to be safe than sorry” in these cases, but often these measures can be costly, especially for low-budget schools.

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