Armed Teachers Editorial

Staff Editor, Editor

Jesse Randall Davidson, age 53, was a high school teacher in Dalton, Georgia. He was also completely and totally unstable.

After barricading himself in his own classroom at Georgia High and firing two shots through a nearby window, the police apprehended him. He was sentenced to two years in jail and eight long years on probation.

Davidson had previously gone to the police to turn himself in for causing the death of someone who may not even exist. He had also experienced run-ins with the police before. His exact reasons for his actions at Georgia High are still a mystery.

No one was hurt in the event, but it does show why teachers really should not be armed. This could happen again.

There are have been a lot of school shootings in recent years. Some people believe that teachers should be armed to increase school safety. Putting firearms in the hands of educators, however, might not have the desired effect.

It is true that guns offer a sense of protection. On top of that, a firearm would probably be an effective weapon against a potential school shooter. The threat of a gun might even scare the intruder away.

On the other hand, having a gun in a school full of kids would increase the possibility of a serious accident. An angry student could get their hands on the gun.

What happens if there is a false alarm and the teacher draws the weapon? It could go off unintentionally.

There is also the possibility that if an intruder did enter the room and the teacher started shooting at them, the students could panic and the teacher could accidentally hit one of them. Even with the proper training, teachers could make mistakes. Shooting a gun at a target is monumentally different from shooting one in the middle of a room full of kids.

Anything could happen. The risks clearly outweigh the benefits.

According to Vox, America has one of the largest homicide rates in the world. Some people think more guns are needed for protection, but the United States already has the most privately owned firearms in the world.

The correlation is clear: the more guns owned, the more gun deaths endured. So why should society willingly provide more weapons, especially to teachers who never asked for this responsibility in the first place?

Educators have mixed feelings about the topic. Some feel that arming themselves would only make the problems worse. Others believe that it is the only way to keep students safe.

Despite this controversy, the Lee County, Virginia, school board unanimously voted this past July to arm their teachers. Only select volunteers will be allowed to carry a gun. Background checks will be put in place and each selected teacher will have to undergo careful training.

It all sounds like a good idea, right? Not so much. The training might be organized and effective, but no amount of training can prepare people for accidents, or for that matter, an actual active shooter situation.

For instance, according to CNN, one teacher in Utah accidentally discharged her weapon in a school restroom. No matter how much training a person has, there is always a possibility that they will make a mistake. Next time, that accidental bullet might not be directed at a toilet.

According to the Los Angeles Times, there were 489 accidental gun deaths in 2015. If we arm teachers, that number will only go up.

Besides, if what happened in Georgia is any indication, school shootings, or any manner of gun violence, can take a serious psychological toll on not only students, but teachers, as well.

According to Pennsylvania State University, shootings have triggered many cases of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Burnout, which is a physical or mental collapse caused by stress, is also common.

Thankfully, there are alternatives to arming teachers. Metal detectors are an option, but in most situations, school systems can’t afford them, since even the cheap ones usually cost about $5,000 per entrance.

Ultimately, this is the purpose of a School Resource Officer. Granted, they are a minimum of $50,000 per year to maintain, and they can’t be everywhere at once, but proper weapons handling classes are around 68,000 dollars for an entire school district.

Without good training, teachers can’t be trusted to fumble around with their firearms. So, it makes sense to just spend 18,000 dollars less and hire an SRO. On top of that, police officers are highly trained and have often been in shooter situations before. This makes them not only more experienced, but also more efficient and effective.

Besides, it’s not like there aren’t other methods that don’t involve a gun.

It hasn’t been very effective for students to huddle in the corner in case of a shooting. It might work better to disperse students around the room, arming them with heavy objects.

If this still feels like doing nothing, then surround the door, braced for anything. If the shooters enter, tackle them before they can even aim. The attacker won’t be prepared for that at all.

There are already so many guns, so much violence. The number of deaths is only rising.

Educators were never intended to be soldiers; it was never in the job description.

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