As I was writing my pro argument paper saying that guns should be able to be carried by teachers and other staff I thought my decision was easy. Even after scratching the service of my research for the con argument, I still thought my mind was made up. It made perfect sense, it was a way to keep students and staff safe from shooters, no one would have to wait for police officers to respond and also get into the building and detain and control the shooter. Then, there was one point I came across in my con argument that changed my whole perspective. The point was: the money and resources that would be used to train and arm teachers could be better used by putting programs in place that provide help to students suffering from mental illness and help to students who are being bullied.
I have seen mental illness in my family so I’ve seen what it can do and how much it can affect someone and the people around that person. Since I grew up seeing these affects, and also seeing the way it is so looked down upon and almost never spoken about, I have always been passionate about changing that. So, when I came across this point it made sense to me way more than any reason that may or may not make sense for placing guns in schools.
People might wonder if putting programs for mental illness and bullying prevention would actually make any difference and I truly believe it would. One in five children ages 13-18, have or at some point will have a serious mental illness (Mental Health), and people who have serious mental illnesses are three times as likely to commit a violent crime against themselves or someone else. And an estimated 160,000 children in the United States miss school every day due to fear of bullies; and six out of ten teens say they witness bullying in school at least once a day (Facts/Laws). This is such a major problem because students who are bullied are twice as likely to carry a gun or another weapon with them at school. If you really look at these statistics and what they mean, it is actually incredibly scary. And not that violence is ever the answer, but looking at this and thinking about the limited help that these students get, it’s easy to at least see that somewhere we’re going wrong.
Another point that made a lot of sense was that by allowing teachers to carrying guns you are having them take on a role that they are not qualified for and essentially becomes a “distraction”. Bill Bond, who works for the Association of Secondary School Principals says “Teachers are in school to teach. When you ask them to become a security guard you are distracting them from their jobs. Not one minute of the school day will go by when that teacher isn’t thinking about that weapon he or she is carrying” (qtd. in Walker). This is creating an extremely hostile and stressful environment for staff who makes the decision to carry in the hopes of being able to keep their students safe.
In hindsight, teachers carrying guns might sound like a safe option in a crisis such as a school shooting but when looked at closer it might actually cause complications for police officers who are trying to gain control of the situation. By having more than one person carrying a weapon it makes it much less clear to police officers who is the shooter and who is staff trying to help. Sean Ahrens, who consults and designs security for Aon Global Risk Consulting says : “During an incident, police enter the building, and upon turning the corner, see a teacher or other staff member with a drawn gun. How do they determine whether they’re looking at an aggressor or a responder” (Laughman)? This is a possibility that is too serious to risk. Letting the police do what they are trained to do without anything or anyone being in the way seems like the safest option.
Even though there are things on both sides of this argument that make sense, I in the end truly and whole heartedly believe that putting the money and effort into proving quality help to students are suffering from mental illness and/or bullying is way more important. Doing this may end up preventing a potential shooter from making the decision to do so in the first place. To me it makes more sense to help the students before it happens rather than doing nothing and waiting for them to make the decision to hurt others so we can have armed teachers shoot them.
“Facts / Laws.” Anti-Bullying Institute, antibullyinginstitute.org/facts#.WOy_lMdllE4. Accessed
4 Apr. 2017.
Laughman, Casey. “Concealed Weapons In Schools Raises Safety, Security Questions.”
Facilitiesnet, Trade Press Media Group, Nov. 2013, http://www.facilitiesnet.com/educationalfacilities/article/Concealed-Weapons-In-Schools-Raises-Safety-Security-Questions-Facilities-Management-Educational-Facilities-Feature–14504. Accessed 4 Apr. 2017.
“Mental Health Facts: Teens and Children.” www.nami.org/getattachment/Learn-More/Mental-
Health-by-the-Numbers/childrenmhfacts.pdf. Accessed 5 Apr. 2017.
Walker, Tim. “Arming Educators – A Bad Idea That Hasn’t Gone Away.” NEA Today, 25 Oct.