Arming Teachers is Not the Solution

PC: Emily Fennick / EyeEm/Getty Images/EyeEm

Though school shootings seem to be occurring left and right these days, it is nevertheless a devastating situation each and every time. A place that should be a safe haven for our children doesn’t seem so safe anymore, and people are desperately looking for answers to fix this.

But the answer is definitely not arming our teachers.

The solution to arm teachers is one that has popped up among gun enthusiasts who see the calls for gun control as a threat to their Second Amendment rights. I find this incredibly infuriating, especially as someone who wants to become a teacher.

Teaching is perhaps one of the most powerful occupations that a person can have. Teachers have the ability to inspire and impact young students in ways other people can’t. They do more than teach subjects, but they are mentors, coaches, friends, and sometimes the role model that kids can’t get elsewhere. I know that I have been fortunate enough to have teachers who have impacted me for the better, and I hope to do the same one day.

But teachers do not sign up for firing a gun. They do not come into their job expecting to know how to handle such a weapon. Teachers shouldn’t be required to treat a place of education as a battleground, and adding more guns to the equation certainly does not mitigate the problem of school shootings.

“Arming teachers doesn’t consider what possible scenarios that could happen when teachers are armed. We shouldn’t have to think of protecting our children in such a way when they are going to school to learn. I am being trained to teach them, not how to use a gun,” History major and aspiring teacher Rukhsar Shiraz ‘20 said.

In fact, teachers are already sacrificing their lives when school shootings occur. During the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, first grade teacher Victoria Leigh Soto died shielding her students. In the very recent Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Scott Beigel, Chris Hixon, and Aaron Feis were all school faculty who gave their lives attempting to help protect students.

People believe that giving these teachers guns to defend against assault rifles would make a difference, but that doesn’t guarantee their protection, it just creates more hazards. Perhaps not allowing perpetrators to access assault weapons to begin with would eliminate the problem entirely, and teachers wouldn’t have to worry about fighting for their students lives if a shooter walks through the door.

Teachers already do not get the credit that they deserve. They are terribly underpaid and their classrooms are underfunded, as many will pay out of their own pocket to give their students the resources that they need. President Trump announced his proposed federal budget in February, which includes cutting spending by the Education Department by 5.3 percent. This cut would impact programs that aim to recruit and retain teachers, support principals, and after school enrichment programs in high poverty areas. I don’t understand how he wants to make all these cuts to education, yet somehow, there is money for more guns?

As a country, one of our top priorities should be funding education. This begins with our teachers, and appreciating them for the infinite amount of good that they do. We should not expect them to be trained in handling weapons, as that is not what they sign up for. It is abhorrent that in the fight for gun control, that people are suggesting instead, that we should spend more money on guns. The way I see it, it is a suggestion that is NRA backed almost as much as many politicians are.

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Natalia Gevara

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