Teachers not shooters

A typical elementary classroom with a teacher and students. However, some view the teacher as a shooter. neonbrand/ Unsplash

BY ALEX COLUMBIA

Imagine that your high school math teacher has a gun inside her classroom ready to shoot the minute there is an alarm of an active shooter inside the school.  This may be the new norm in classrooms across the United States since many school systems are considering arming teachers due to the rise of school shootings.

It’s a sad day in the United States to have to consider arming teacher to protect our students in public schools. The idea of teachers as shooters is not the right approach to fight this growing crisis of gun violence in schools.  

According to a Washington Post article, arming teachers in schools could be very costly. Their findings concluded that arming and training  20% of the teachers in the United States would cost $251 million dollars.  Training 100% of teachers could exceed one billion dollars.  The money could instead be used to fund school programs that improve our education system and can be something useful for our country.

If a teacher is armed with a firearm, how do we know if they will make a difference?  The FBI performed an analysis on active shooter incidents in the United States and found that in 250 active shooter situations only about 7 civilian armed citizens made an impact. That number is considerably low and actually more unarmed civilians made a difference with 22 cases of unarmed civilians making a positive impact during active shooter situations. This begs the question of whether arming teachers would really make a difference.  Based on the statistics provided by the FBI, the answer is no..

Saying that armed teachers would stand up and use their weapons against a possible threat in the classroom is easier said than done.  A study by the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health showed, “that seven police officers acting against threatening combatants had considerably less shooting accuracy, movement times, head/body orientation, and blink behavior.” If well-trained officers whose jobs are based on these situations on a daily basis cannot perform effectively, how could anyone expect a teacher to effectively stop a school threat?

Arming teachers would not keep the schools safer.  Teachers are trained to educate students, not to handle a weapon inside a classroom and bear the responsibility to stop an active shooter.  This is certainly not what teachers signed up for as they prepared for their career, so they should not be forced to carry a weapon inside their classroom.  

Instead of arming teachers, school systems should employ personnel whose main job is to protect teachers and students inside the school. It is a sad that we have to bring guns into school but that is the world we live in today. However if anyone is going to be armed in school it should be security guards.  Arming teachers is not the right answer and a knee jerk response to this crisis in our schools. The appropriate response is to employ security resource officers who are specially trained to defend the students, teachers, and administrators.