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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Teachers with guns


Arming teachers invites more problems than solutions

In modern America, it seems as if mass shootings have become routine. An alert pops up on our phone, we read the gruesome headline explaining where it happened and how many are dead, we talk about what a tragedy it is, and we move on within a couple days.

With the most recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the routine has been broken and real conversation has started.

Since the shooting, many students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have taken on roles of activists by fighting for stricter gun laws. They are calling on the government to take their “thoughts and prayers” and exchange them for changes in gun laws. It seems that the American people are following the young students’ lead, as 68 percent of registered voters now support stricter gun laws, the highest percentage in 25 years.

While the majority of Americans are coming around to the idea that gun laws must become stricter, there are still republican government officials who do not see this as a gun problem, rather a mental health problem. Their solution? Arming teachers.

According to a poll conducted by National Public Radio (NPR), 59 percent of Americans do not support this idea. Adding more guns to the mix seems like it invites more problems than solutions.

For one thing, arming America’s teachers will be a costly operation. Data from the Department of Education estimates there are about 3.6 million teachers in the United States.

The act of arming them would not only include having access to a gun, but knowing how and when to use it. While not every teacher at every school in the country may be responsible for protecting and handling a gun, a responsible school supporting this idea would put every teacher through this training. Depending on the extent of the training, the cost could be in the millions to hundred millions. In addition to the training, paying for guns is a whole other ball game.

Arming teachers also has the potential to be deadly for students of color. School is supposed to be safe and welcoming to all students. In the media, people of color can be portrayed as dangerous. There have been countless accounts of trained police officers, whose job it is to protect citizens, who have fatally shot people of color based on misunderstandings and bad judgement.

What would happen if guns are put into the hands of high school, middle school and elementary school teachers? Arming teachers invites opportunities for this same type of misunderstanding and bad judgement, but this time in the classroom.

With all the stresses teachers already deal with, guns should not be added to the list. Often times, teachers’ jobs go way beyond standing in front of a classroom talking about math or science. It involves grading papers into the night, counseling students, breaking up fights, providing school supplies, advising clubs; the list goes on and on. Adding gun handling to the list is neither practical nor smart.

While many teachers would gladly make sacrifices for their students, putting a gun in their hands puts an expectation that they must make potentially life-threatening decisions to protect their students.

While there could definitely be safe ways to carry out the idea of arming teachers, there are so many ways it could go south. Other solutions include an increase in counseling services, mental health and bullying prevention education, as well as more metal detectors and security.

Arming teachers should be at the bottom of the list of ways to fix this, as I don’t see how a teacher with a gun could prevent a shooting from occurring, rather it could simply lower the death toll. It is not worth the risk.

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