Gun Control Debate 2013: Arm Teachers? Are Gun-Rights Advocates Crazy?

Everyone is aware of the significant impact the Newtown shootings in December have left on the United States. Since then, our political debates have largely revolved around guns: should laws be created to prohibit them? Should psychologists step up to the plate and demand that young adults undergo routine psychological testing? Is there anything that can be done so that our children do not have to go about their everyday lives in fear? A handful of school officials across the country believe they have found a solution: They want to arm teachers. It is questionable, however, whether this is an adequate answer to the problem.

The executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, has explained the idea clearly enough by stating, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”. This might explain why a couple of states have passed laws permitting school staff members to carry firearms on school grounds and why 1,400 school officials in Ohio applied for a program to teach them how to fight off a shooter. But what happens when the gunman enters the classroom with multiple firearms? And if he has an accomplice?

A teacher already has enough responsibility on his or her plate to educate America’s children. It is not reasonable to expect a teacher to be able to do this and act as a professional security officer.

Kenneth Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services, has declared, “It is short-sighted for those supporting the idea to believe that educators who enter a profession to teach and serve a supportive, nurturing role with children could abruptly kick into the mindset to kill someone in a second’s notice.” Basically, if we want teachers to fulfill their roles as successful educators, we have to allow them to focus on just that, and leave security issues to another department.

So who can we depend on to protect America’s school-aged children? The most obvious answer is police officials who have all spent a significant amount of time in training in order to defend the U.S. as a whole.

While close to 75% of teachers claimed that they would turn down the opportunity to carry a gun to work, according to a February School Improvement Network Survey, the majority of the teachers agreed that armed guards on school grounds would improve their students' safety.

Instead of shoving even more responsibility onto teachers' shoulders, school officials should demand that policemen be permanently stationed on their campuses. That way, teachers can continue to teach, and policemen can continue to defend. It is the only win-win solution for both parties that also allows for better security for America’s children. 

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Lauren Clark

Lauren is an International Studies major at Fordham University at Lincoln Center in New York City. She is currently studying abroad at King's College in London. Her interests include national security, terrorism, religion, health care, and women's rights. In her free time she loves to travel, learn new languages, and discover healthy food alternatives for vegetarians.

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