President Donald Trump proposed that the United States train and give some teachers concealed weapons following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., according to The New York Times.
Although Trump seeks to only arm teachers who withhold a rich history of military or gun experience, this proposal should not be implemented as it would not make schools more safe from mass shootings.
Supporters of arming teachers or security guards believe this will prevent violent school shootings; however, as proven in the Parkland shooting, this is not a guarantee. Although the high school had an armed security officer, they did not act quickly enough to prevent the loss of 17 lives, as reported by NBC News.
On average, New York Police Department officers in a gunfight have a hit rate of 18 percent, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It’s nonsensical to expect teachers to perform at a rate near NYPD’s, which does not prove to be worth the taxes, training and risk of lives. Teachers who find the courage to fire will more likely miss than hit the threat.
In highly stressful situations, teachers cannot be expected to do what specially trained officers struggle to do. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, stated that “no amount of training can prepare an armed teacher to go up against an AR-15,” according to The New York Times.
Providing weapons to teachers would destroy the feeling of safety in schools as well as the dynamic in teacher-student relationships. A loaded weapon will ruin the welcoming environment that classrooms should provide.
Debra Ciamacca, a former Marine Corps officer and current social studies teacher in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, spoke out against the introduction of guns in the classroom. “It says stand back instead of stand up,” Ciamacca said, as reported by Time Magazine.
This is absolutely true as this concept tries to prepare for the issue of future mass shootings in a violent way rather than aiming to preventing the shootings in general.
Trump currently does not have a funding plan, but he claims that federal funds will cover the costs of the weapons, training and bonuses for armed teachers, according to The New York Times. Instead, these funds should go toward increased mental health services and educating the public on signs of threats.
Arming teachers does not address the root of the problem, but rather accepts the fact that schools will be targets for mass shootings. On the topic of giving teachers guns, Trump stated that doing so “could end the attack very quickly,” according to CNN. Rather than attempting to end attacks in an expedient manner, Congress should be forming a plan to prevent attacks from even occurring.
Many teachers across the U.S. proposed their solutions for this societal issue, and they do not involve guns in the classroom. The “#ArmMeWith” movement calls for alternatives, including more mental health resources, according to CNN. The nation should be less concerned with protecting people from the mentally ill, and more concerned with helping the mentally ill before they make a life-threatening decision.
Providing teachers with weapons is not the solution for mass school shootings. It’s time to create stricter gun laws and accessible mental health resources so that such tragedies may never happen again.