Should school teachers be armed with guns?

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Offline Kobuk

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To arm, or not to arm, teachers?
« on: February 28, 2018, 10:41:34 pm »
Whether to arm school teachers or not with guns, I don't know. For now, I am pretty much against it. Here are some of my other opinions on the matter:

In the wake of the mid February 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Florida at a high school which left 17 students dead, there has been various “For” and “Against” arguments about how to make schools safer, especially when it comes to arming teachers with guns.
While I agree that there needs to be better security at schools to protect students, whether they are as young as Kindergarten age, or in their teens and going to high school, the forms the security should take and how much to have I am undecided about. But one thing that I am against is arming teachers with guns. The main job of a school teacher is to teach. That is what they are getting paid to do. If politicians, gun activists, or any other people and groups want guns in schools, then I suggest hiring one or two (or more) security guards for the school. The best people to hire who know more about security than the teachers would be retired police officers, military veterans, or other people with police, military, and security experience/backgrounds.

Do teachers really want to go the extra mile and carry guns and get training to protect students? Maybe some do and maybe some don’t. It’s all up to the individual school districts and the states on what should be done. But if any schools did start arming teachers, then how are the teachers going to get trained? Who pays for the training? The weapons? And any other supplies and services? And if the teachers are being asked to carry a firearm, then shouldn’t their pay be increased as well?
Teachers already do a lot and sometimes go above and beyond their capabilities for their students and the school districts. To ask them to carry a gun and do more when they may already be overworked and/or underpaid is asking far too much of them.

We all want our children to be safe and we all want the places where our children congregate to be safe. But how we do that is a matter of contention. There is no easy answer. And even if we do arm all our teachers in our nation’s schools, then what’s next? Will we then have barbed wire, bullet proof doors and windows, moats surrounding the school, electrified fencing, minefields, armed patrols with dogs on school grounds, etc., etc.  Schools are supposed to be places of learning. Heaven forbid if we ever have to call our schools a “castle” or a “fortress” if security ever gets increased. Is that what we want our schools to look like in the foreseeable future? Our children go to school to get an education in math, reading, history, and so forth. A school should never have to be a place where our children are getting an “education” in increased security and armed conflict.

A school should never be a battleground. But unfortuneately, it is. And it may get worse if gun violence in this country continues to get worse in the future. So how do we stop it? The short answer according to some politicians, public groups, etc. is to arm the teachers. To me, that seems like too much of a knee-jerk reaction. It’s like “an eye for an eye” to use a figure of speech. But by arming teachers and other staff with guns, aren’t we “putting the cart before the horse” so to speak?

Shouldn’t we at least look at and propose and/or implement lesser security measures before we start advocating more extreme measures for school staff to start carrying guns? Here are some things that may already have been thought of and/or implemented in schools across the country. This list is by no means complete.

a) Keep all school entrances locked. All students coming to school are to enter through one (or two) entrances only. Visitors coming to the school are to enter through the main entrance only and/or must make an appointment.
b) Visitors must show an I.D. and/or have a VISITOR badge pinned to their shirt/jacket when visiting a school.
c) Exterior security cameras at every entrance (if possible).
d) Interior security cameras at selected hallways, entrances, and other places inside the school.
e) Bulletproof school windows and bulletproof school entrance doors.
f) Improved construction of classroom doors and/or school entrance doors to prevent break ins.
g) Let the teachers teach. If the school needs security staff, then hire people who are trained and have more experience in security (Military veterans, Ex-Police officers, Ex-Corrections officers, etc.).
h) Make all staff and students wear lanyards showing picture ID and any other relevent information. As a bonus, make them as “key cards” in order to gain entry to school/classrooms and/or other resources.
  * If someone forgets to wear/bring their lanyard when coming to school or refuses to wear it, then they are sent back home.
  * If someone loses their lanyard or it gets stolen while at school or somewhere else, that person is sent home and they must get a new lanyard ID. The old lanyard ID key card information, etc. will be deleted/inactive.
  * If a student is suspended from school, their lanyard ID key card will be deactivated for the length of the suspension preventing the student from gaining access to the school/classrooms. It will be reactivated once the suspension has expired.
  * If a student is expelled from the school for any reason, their lanyard ID key card is deactivated and the student is prohibited from visiting the school grounds/building. Information about the expulsion will be sent to authorities depending on the circumstances of the expulsion (Fighting or any other criminal activity).
i) Metal detectors at every school entrance (if possible) or at selected entrances.
j) All schools across the country must have some form of preventative security plan in place and train their staff and/or students in evacuation drills or other security measures, and must submit this plan to the school board and/or local authorities. These plans will be updated accordingly as newer threats, technologies, etc. emerge.
k) Teachers and other school staff as well as parents, must be aware of a student’s mental and emotional well being. Some school shootings (Especially in Parkland, Florida.) in the past were committed by students with various social and mental problems that were not addressed properly. There needs to be better counseling and other resources to address bullying, hatred, and other issues that students face at school. If left unchecked, such issues will only lead to more students who may feel the need to take their frustrations out on their peers and commit an act of violence on school property.
l) Random locker and backpack/bag checks for suspicious and illegal items.

Granted, some of the above measures may work and some won’t. And some of these measures may already be implemented in schools already while some aren’t. But isn’t it at least worth trying some of these before we go and arm our teachers with guns? Seems that some politicians and the public think the quickest, easiest, and cheapest solution to combating gun incidents at schools is to arm the teachers. But is it? As an old saying kinda goes:

Good, Cheap, or Fast:
1. If its Good and Cheap, it won’t be Fast
2. If its Fast and Cheap, it won’t be Good
3. If its Fast and Good it wont be Cheap

How do you want security at schools? For me, I’d want option #3. I’d want security implemented as soon as humanly possible, but I’d want it to be as good (Quality) as possible. And if that means it won’t be cheap and there’d be necessary taxes or whatever else to pay for better security, then I’d probably be for it. All of the lettered options I listed above will require funding in some way. Some more so than others.

In the 2 or so weeks after the Parkland, Florida school shooting in mid February 2018, I have seen and heard various media reports where “some” politicians, gun groups, teachers, and other people seem to want option #2. At least, that’s the impression I am getting. Basically, it means getting teachers armed and trained as fast as possible and as cheaply as possible. But will arming teachers be good enough and help thwart school shootings/violence? Is the answer to school shootings just as simple as giving guns to teachers to protect the students? This to me seems like too much of a “quick, easy, and cheap fix” to solve our school shooting problems without focusing on and solving the underlying causes of school shootings and/or increasing funding for some or all of the lettered options I mentioned further above.

If some people were to say that some of the lettered options listed further above didn’t, can’t, or won’t work, I’d say: “Well, have you TRIED using them?” or “Have you tried IMPROVING them to make them work better?”. And if a person says: “Well, it costs too much money to implement some of those other measures. We don’t have the money in the State/School budget.”. So……you’re saying what? That saving money is more important than the safety of a child? Wow, I’m shocked.  :o

Arming school staff with guns should never be the first, quickest, cheapest, and easiest answer to solving any school shooting/violent act. We should always propose and incorporate all other lesser preventative security measures and options first before we even THINK about using the most extreme ones.
Arming school staff should be considered as a LAST option only when all other options have been considered and/or implemented or have failed for whatever reason. NEVER a first option.

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Offline Loc

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Re: To arm, or not to arm, teachers?
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2018, 04:01:54 am »
No. No no no no no.

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Offline Loc

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Re: To arm, or not to arm, teachers?
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2018, 02:18:36 pm »

Teaching is a stressful job, and teachers are often verbally (and occasionally physically) harassed by students. Sometimes they snap. Mental breakdowns among teachers are not as rare as you would hope. It's a thankless job.  Arm them and you will see more shootings happen, just with an adult using the gun instead of a kid.

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Offline cause the rat

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Re: To arm, or not to arm, teachers?
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2018, 03:06:20 pm »
My argument is about the psychological aspects of having armed teachers. You are asking a human being to shoot a child. That is what's going to be on the mind of every teacher. You are handing guns to people who can not take the mental pressure of being armed. You can not be effective if your uncomfortable with a firearm. Even if your on staff at a school. If your not mentally trained or comfortable with a firearm. Or the reasons for carrying it you will not be effective.

This may only work as a deterrent. But not an effective one.

Years ago I lived in a very violent city. The grade school I was attending had it's share of problems. The buss I took got students from a high school. This place had armed guards and a prison like fence surrounding it. It was common to hear the students talk about stabbings and guns.
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Offline Old Rabbit

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Re: To arm, or not to arm, teachers?
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2018, 12:31:21 pm »
I think there is too much chaos during a shooting for armed teachers
to be much help. They may even end up shooting other students trying
to stop a school shooter.

Though some teachers may give their life trying to protect students, taking a
life is much different. People who become teachers are generally not well
suited to be armed guards.

Also racial fears might cause a teacher to shoot a student of color thinking
they posed a danger during an argument or other confrontation.

Teachers having guns provide a possible opportunity for a out of control
student to gain possession and use it toward them selves or others. A
good solid door with a hardened lock is the best defense for a classroom.

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Offline Shim

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Re: To arm, or not to arm, teachers?
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2018, 01:18:22 pm »
Absolutely not. Why does this thread exist?

Offline Jade Sinapu

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Re: To arm, or not to arm, teachers?
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2018, 02:40:51 pm »
At my work place we all took active shooter training.  The big thing that we all took away from it was that we think we know how we'd react, but we don't.  Only the people who have experience do. Some people run away, some hide some freeze up.  Some cry uncontrollably.   Some fight back.  It's a human reaction apparently.   And we are all different.

That is why supposedly the ones we entrust to protect us are traind to take the shot.  They know what is going to happen,  how loud the gun is, how heavy it is and the recoil.   They also may know what it is to take life and be ready.  It's not somsthing we all can do in the heat of the moment .  I know that training can overcome some of this.  But talking to my sister who's a 4th grade teacher, the thought that she may have to  kill her own student is paralyzing.  She said she would  gladly take the bullets and die trying.  Also the shooter may be hard to distinguish from the other students.

Those who come to school to kill have a plan that they have been working on for who knows how long.  It's hard to stop them.  They need more mental help and friends and a better family life probably.

I know that technically a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with one too, saving lives. Can we have more police in schools?

But honestly, what about helping to prevent thing like this.  If we can help someone with their life and prevent another school shooting, then how else did we improve society?  Armed teachers may be treating symptoms of a larger issue, what about a cure or prevention?  Wouldn't we all be better off  for it?
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Offline Firelight

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Re: To arm, or not to arm, teachers?
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2018, 09:53:20 pm »
What should be done is not only run backgrounds on people who buy guns but also make sure there's no mental illness in their familys.