Arming Teachers Is the Opposite of a Real Solution

In a controversial issue that has divided legislators, educators and students alike, the population contemplates the possibility of armed teachers and staff on school grounds.

Maria Puyana

In a controversial issue that has divided legislators, educators and students alike, the population contemplates the possibility of armed teachers and staff on school grounds.

Maria Puyana, Staff Writer

Schools should be considered welcoming environments where students can learn safely and peacefully. However, since the beginning of 2019, there have been more than 57 school shootings in the United States, ending the lives of more than 10 people and injuring more than 35 people.

The government is attempting to tackle the controversial issue by sharing their ideas in order to resolve this situation. Our very own state of Florida has recently approved a bill allowing teachers and staff to be armed in order to prevent violent shooting situations. The House voted 65-47, with eight abstentions – or instances where individuals refused to vote for or against the bill. Meanwhile, The Florida Senate voted 22-17  with 1 abstention, in order to pass its version of the bill.

However, arming teachers is not an ideal approach to prevent future shootings. When this bill begins to take place, more than 10 educators per school would be armed; this means that over 37,000 educators in the state of Florida would carry weapons in their classrooms. Arming teachers could also prove to be detrimental as student educators lack weapon knowledge. Therefore, it causes school safety risks, and fear among students would rise like wildfire.

¨I don’t agree with arming teachers because, if anything, the thought of your teacher having a gun with them is enough to make anyone uncomfortable. More in-depth background checks would have to occur and every little thing counts. It’s not a good idea at all,¨ sophomore Katherine Sanchez said.

Many parents, educators and students disagree with this topic. According to a recent news article published by Pacific Standard, Adam Skaggs – the chief counsel at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence – said that the risk that is taken when children have access to guns can end in an accidental discharge that would result in an injury. He also added that there is a high potential risk that a teacher that is undertrained could confuse the threat, arguing that arming teachers could be a greater risk to the safety of students.

Maria Puyana
Throughout the 10-year ban of assault rifles, the number of recorded mass shootings fell by 37% from what it was prior to the ban, and has increased by 183% since the lifting of the ban, emphasizing the need for improved legislation.

The general population has oftentimes preferred to label this bill as a last resort rather than a solution. However, in an article released by AP news,Broward County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri deviated from the prevailing perspective in saying that people have to understand that an armed teacher could save lives.

Regardless, not only would students be in great danger if teachers were armed, but the staff itself would risk their lives every day for this policy. A student could easily steal the gun or an angry teacher could fire into a classroom. In the case of a school shooting, if the gun were to be stored in a safe, how long would it take for the teacher or staff to reach it? Would they be able to access it in time? The pros in this bill aren’t conclusive enough to secure the safety of the students and staff, making this policy useless and potentially more damaging.

¨I personally don’t like the idea of armed teachers because it can fall into the wrong hands, which can lead to more school shootings.¨ sophomore Isabella Flores said.

Safety is not the only issue. There would be drastic changes in each of the counties’ budgets. Around 67 million dollars would be invested in the school staff’s training, weapons and ammunition. This would cause all other budget investments such as school lunch, construction or school groups to be cut down. As a result, not only would safety be at risk, but the enjoyment of school would practically be destroyed. Parents would experience excessive fear knowing that their children are surrounded by armed staff. The learning environment would feel more like a prison than a school.

Considering all these factors, instead of leaving the safety of children in the hands of armed teachers, we should improve gun legislation. Since most of the past school shooters have obtained their legally obtained weapons from their guardians, improving gun legislation could prevent potential school shootings. When the 10-year ban on assault rifles from 1994-2005 was in effect, mass shootings significantly fell, and skyrocketed once the ban was lifted, demonstrating that a strong correlation between stricter gun legislation and mass shootings.

While it may appear to be impossible to fully guarantee the safety of children and staff, arming teachers on school campuses offers risks, threats, and safety concerns that are better left unknown.