Horrific incidents such as the massacres at Columbine High school and Virginia Polytechnic have given rise to calls for teachers to be armed in the classroom. Crime and Safety Surveys Program collects and reports data about violence, safety and crime in USA elementary and secondary schools. Statistics recorded by this program show that between July 2009 and June 2010 there were 33 school associated violent deaths in secondary and elementary schools. Out of the 33, 25 were homicides.
The Reasons For Teachers To Be Armed
It is a teacher’s responsibility to protect the students
During the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, 32 people were killed and 17 wounded. If teachers had have been in possession of concealed firearms, then some or all of these deaths could have been prevented. Tragic massacres could be prevented if teachers were allowed to carry a gun.
Even if the law allowed designated members of staff to carry a concealed gun this would change the status of the school or college from ‘gun free zone’ to ‘faculty may be armed’. This status in itself would serve to deter criminal acts. If a gun crazed fanatic knew that certain people on school premises were armed it would make them think twice before they attempted to go a shooting rampage.
Likewise, statistics show that a certain proportion of students use drugs and this can lead to acts of violent crime. If students were aware that there were firearms inside the school it could deter them from acting in haste. Random drug testing combined with armed teachers could radically reduce crime levels in colleges, schools and universities. Unfortunately, some teenagers are unbalanced for whatever reason and this should be taken into consideration by school administrators.
Could work as an extension of current concealed-carry laws
Allowing teachers to be armed need not be some radical, controversial process. The government could simply extend the concealed-carry law to make it possible for teachers to be given the choice. Obviously teachers who choose to carry a firearm to defend their students and themselves would be given comprehensive training and would behave in an exemplary manner. A responsible teacher is not going to wave a gun around in a student’s face just because they may have misbehaved. The firearm would be concealed and would only be used during very extenuating circumstances.
Alternatively, the law could allow specific school staff to carry firearms. The school could adopt a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy so that students won’t actually know exactly who is carrying a gun. This would ensure that student-teacher relationships would not be compromised, but students would have peace of mind that there was a level of protection inside the school.
Schools with high crime rates
In schools, colleges and universities where students have shown an extremely high tendency to attack teachers and fellow students, it is essential that teachers working in these particular establishments should be allowed to carry protection. Unfortunately, there are areas in the USA and indeed throughout the world where students come from difficult backgrounds are statistically more likely to commit a crime. Some schools have high crime and truancy levels year in and year out. These patterns won’t change unless something is done to try and prevent the crimes from happening.
In 1997 Joel Myrick, principal of Pearl High School in Mississippi, discovered a deranged person taking fire at innocent students. He always kept a gun in his car in case of such emergencies and so he ran to his truck to get his firearm. Unfortunately, by the time Myrick retrieved and returned with the loaded gun, two of his students had already been killed. If Myrick had have been allowed to keep his gun on school premises, these murders could very well have been prevented.
People who actively advocate strict gun control may argue that the US is obsessed with guns and that is partly to blame for tragedies like Virginia Tech and Columbine High. Generally speaking, this isn’t true because if an individual has intent to cause harm then they will find ways to obtain a firearm, regardless of state laws.
Until the law changes so that teachers have the right to choose whether they want to carry a concealed firearm, these mass shootings will always be a real threat to school, universities and colleges. Staff and students are entitled to be protected when they step inside a school building because it’s their human right.
What are your thoughts about armed teachers? Have you personally witnessed any violence in College? Would you feel reassured that teachers were armed and in a position to protect you or your children? Or should school remain a gun free place? Please leave your comments below as we look forward to hearing your points of view.