One of the myriad questions now being presented before us in the wake of the Parkland shooting is whether or not we should allow teachers permission to carry guns on their person in schools.
Think of it as a last line of defense in case another unstable kid brings a gun to school and massacres the very people he knew or grew up with. On the face of it, it could make some sense. A well-trained adult taking out a shooter as he kicks in a classroom door? That stops a slaughter from happening.
However, that is not a teacher’s job. That is nowhere on the teacher’s mind as they go through their daily routine with their class. A teacher gets up in the morning, goes to school, reviews the lesson plans, and provides students the opportunity to learn something. They move about the classroom, watching what kids are doing and making sure they can achieve some level of mastery of a skill. If the student can’t, the teacher is supposed to work with that student until they can.
The cynic can argue about how effective teachers are in doing this job, but that is the job nonetheless.
That is a lot of attention that the teacher has to pay on a daily basis to the hundreds of students they can potentially see and interact with in a single day. That is attention a teacher can’t spend on where his or her gun is, if it’s secure, if anyone in the room knows about the gun, if anyone in the room is a risk if they stumble across the gun, and so on.
It’s not the job.
There are several things we can discuss when it comes to fixing what’s broken – evaluating laws that weren’t followed, writing new ones, and so forth. Should we increase the school resource officers we have on campus? Absolutely. Should we spend the money to offer more and better training for them in these situations? You bet. That is their job. That is what they are there for. They are there for safety, to protect, and to ensure that massacres don’t happen.
This talking point that some folks have about arming teachers, however, is not one of the things we should discuss.
Of course, it’s not like anyone is saying “ARM ALL THE TEACHERS” or anything like that, but even the potential of introducing more guns via undertrained civilians into a situation that could already be volatile is a mistake. Teachers, no matter how many classes they take, how many times they hit the shooting range, etc., will never truly be prepared for a time when they might have to turn a gun on one of their own students.
Despite the number of high-profile events, the odds of a school shooting happening in a school are very slim. But, giving any troubled student an opening is dangerous. Losing focus on where their gun, how secure it is, etc., is going to do nothing but provide an opportunity for tragedy to strike.