It’s an early Monday morning. People are walking into school with their friends, talking while glancing in each classroom. There’s a teacher standing near the door smiling and waving good morning as students walk down to their lockers. Students try to force a smile, acting as well as possible knowing that every teacher in the school is armed with a gun. Every mistake one makes, every test they fail, every late pass a student hands in can easily trigger a teacher to aim and shoot the gun. Students lives can and will forever be changed, along with teachers. Guns can cause so many problems involving, anxiety, risk and fear towards one another. The social issue behind arming school teachers will negatively affect school environments, student safety, and trust relationships.
Young people around the country have been fighting for anti-violence rights for many years now. However, since the Parkland Shooting, which took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year, caused the conflicts of mental health and gun control to be the two main issues being brought into a major social disagreement. The survivors of the shooting, which killed 14 students and 3 staff members attempted to address this problem. Their initiative lead to walkouts, protests, meetings, and speeches. People are now aware that if this conflict isn’t solved, the same situation will happen over and over again. The article “Gun Violence In Schools” by Teaching Tolerance states, “The February 2018 shooting in Parkland, Florida thrust their calls for better gun-control laws and mental health services into national spotlight. Gun violence today is one of the most high ranking complications since the year of 2018” (1). Gun violence has caused the American people to begin taking action and joining sides on arguments about this crucial topic. Solutions and arrangements are being discussed with the whole country, ideas such as allowing weapons at school.
Schools should be a place where students feel safe and comfortable without having to worry about the weapons being held in every classroom. According to the article, “Arming Teachers Will Not Reduce School Violence”, “teachers tend to be the first victim if they were armed” (Gale 1). This evidence is convincing because not only is danger being brought towards the students, but also the teachers. If a gunman is aware teachers are armed, that would be one of the first things to get out of the way. Teachers have only one job, which is to teach their students. To force them to act like police officers and make strenuous decisions that not only put their life at stake, but their students is unfair. This argument is important right now, as it’s a recent topic that is repeatedly being brought up, due to the 89 school shootings that have occurred over the past 4 years in the United States. Gun violence is a major conflict and many solutions (some of which may not have an impact) are being discussed between state officials. The database clearly states that schools will to turn to “fortresses” and teachers into “prison guards.” The responsibility level required to carry a gun is increasingly high, and was not one of the obligations needed for becoming a teacher. Teachers will lead to the change of school environments and the everyday lives of students.
Students will not only be affected by this adjustment at school, but also at home. Depending on a students home life situation, school can tend to be their only safe place. However, with the choice of bringing guns into school territory, students can be forced to feel anxious and tense around teachers, in classrooms, hallways, and even near their own friends.
Another article written by Gale, “Arming Teachers Is Not An Effective Way to Prevent School Violence” states, “There are plenty of children whose home lives are so lousy and stressful that school is one of the places on earth where they feel safe (Gale 1).” The relationships of trust between teachers and students can forever be destroyed in schools that allow this. For example, Utah University’s gun law regulates firearms on campus saying quote, “to provide that violation of this Policy subjects faculty, staff and students to internal University disciplinary processes (Young 1).” Although, the policy prohibits firearms for faculty and students, the law does not apply to campus visitors. Any person who is staying at the campus temporarily to visit friends or for orientation, etc., is legally allowed to be armed. The risk and danger this code brings to the university is unbelievably high. An example scenario demonstrating the negative outcome to this situation is, if students or teachers have issues with each other and may have been brought to a serious extreme, a known friend/family member can come on campus with a weapon. Students should be able to go to school without the feeling of fear, and teachers should be able to go to school without having to carry a gun: “Teachers would be forced to carry weapons into classrooms filled with children and teens, thus opening many more opportunities for the guns to fall into the wrong hands”(Gale 1). Weapons can easily be purloined by the wrong person which can lead to even further conflict. The safety of students is a number one priority in schools, but guns can change that.
Although arming teachers can have many dangerous outcomes, some may say arming teachers will positively affect schools against gun violence. According to the viewpoint article, “Should Teachers Carry Guns? Are Metal Detectors Helpful? What Experts Say,” Dave Workman, the senior editor of The Gun Mag and communications director of the Citizens Community claims, “Why not? The teacher is going to be there…they become the first responder sometimes. It does take a while for police to respond to an incident (New York Times).” Even though the teacher is the only matured and advanced adult in the room, it’s the security or the police’s job not only to stop the shooter, but allow them getting in. If School security increased the amount of school shootings would decrease due to the expanded protection. Also, the article, “Arming Teachers and Parents Will Prevent School Shooting”, states, “evil thrives where no one stands against it, and too many schools teach that self- defense is somehow wrong (Gale 1).” Students should be taught how to respect and communicate to one another whether the case of an argument or fight. Self defense against guns should not have to be taught to students unless they’re drills or procedures the school does altogether. Students are in school to learn to exceed their education, not they’re gun aim. So why force them to learn something that’s not needed? The amount of changes schools can make without having to involve teachers and students, has an infinite amount of solutions that can construct a successful system.
Nearly 25 states policies allow schools or districts to give permission to individuals to carry guns. The federal law prohibits firearms within 1,000 feet of a school zone. But the Gun-Free School Zones Act does not apply to adults with concealed carry permits. While the history of gun violence is being continuously discussed; however, a possible solution is to up the security at schools and allow the police officers who are properly trained to have the control over a gun. Asking teachers to be responsible for a weapon is not fair. Mixing schools and guns with each other will not have an effective outcome. Whenever there are guns involved, there’s always something bad, especially with the access granted to any student.
So, there they are, walking through the halls with eyes watching every move students take. Students see the teachers waiting at the door of each classroom observing the students who are talking and fooling around with their friends. Students patiently stare back at the teacher waiting for their next move. Whether it’s to responsibly handle the situation or take it to a whole other level involving the weapons being held in their front desk. Addressing the worst outcomes that can possibly happens is necessary due to the many risks guns can cause. School environments will be demolished, along with student safety, and trust relationships between students and teachers. Guns should completely be banned from schools, and teachers should not be held accountable to have access to guns.
Photo Courtesy New York Times
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