We can all remember the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut last December. That day, 26 children and teachers lost their lives, and in the past few years, others have met the same fate due to school shootings. Because of this, educators are beginning to ask themselves an important question: If these teachers had been provided with the means to defend themselves, would it have made a difference?
According to CNN, educators in Florida received free training sessions from Defense Tactics Solutions on how to disarm, defend and protect themselves from potential threats to the school system. The administrators were taught how to disarm a gunman, how to use self-defense if provoked and how to hide from an intruder. Because of the number of shootings in recent years, school security plans across the nation are in flux, some including arming teachers with weapons in the case of an emergency. It’s heartbreaking for me to think that schools are taking such strong measures to protect their students from outside threats. It’s a noble pursuit, but I feel that giving educators the power to have a gun inside the classroom would do more harm than good.
I find nothing wrong with educators learning self-defense; it’s important to know how to defend and protect yourself and others inside and outside the classroom. However, I don’t think it’s appropriate for teachers to be storing guns in their classrooms, even if they’re locked up for emergency situations. Why? There will always be someone that abuses this power. Imagine what would happen if a mentally unstable student were to get their hands on a gun. The same goes for teachers. With these weapons present, the threat would already be inside the school walls; we wouldn’t have to wait for an armed gunman to enter. Although background checks would already be done, mental health evaluations should be administered to make sure each teacher is stable enough to handle a gun. Even so, there would always be the “what if.”
There are many other precautions that schools could take that would help teachers and students stay safe in emergency situations. Having armed police officers in school systems could provide a cover of protection for everyone inside. Going through metal detectors to enter schools could also diminish potential weapons getting through unnoticed. Or, having assemblies that teach students and teachers how to hide and stay calm in an emergency would give the entire school some peace of mind.
Weapons are not the answer for teachers to keep their students safe. Knowing self-defense is one thing, bringing the threat inside the school system is another.