07 Dec 2012

Why Teachers Should Not Be Armed In The Classroom

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Partly as a result of the mass shootings in Virginia and a shooting at a school in Arizona, some state legislators are campaigning for the right for teachers to be able to carry a concealed weapon when on school premises. The arguments for this new law are that a student is far less likely to carry or shoot a firearm if they know that each teacher is also carrying a weapon. In short, teachers would be expected to carry a gun as a deterrent. But should they? In the following post I argue that Teachers should not be armed in the classroom as we have to keep as a sanctuary free from guns wherever possible.

Teachers should not be armed in the classroom

Potential Repercussions

Statistics show that the odds of having a mishap with a gun are far higher than the odds of a terrorist attack on a air flight. If armed teachers were to say misplace or lose a gun, the repercussions of this would be serious. Schools are not trained to deal with this type of unusual situation and nor would they know how to handle things if a student stole a firearm from a teacher. Surely, a teacher carrying a weapon would present a bigger opportunity for an unbalanced student to do harm when on school premises.

If a teacher were to shoot a student accidently, he or she would be likely to lose their position at the school. They would also be facing a lawsuit and an irreparably damaged reputation. Who could say what the ramifications would be if a teacher shot a student deliberately because there may be elements of doubt or a lack of eye witnesses to back up the teacher’s version of events.

It’s not Always Black or White

What type of firearms should armed teachers be allowed to carry? Where do state laws draw the line? Should there only be a standard type of gun allowed or could teachers be authorized to carry tasers? These are all questions which would need to be answered before any general law was passed.

Teachers who were allowed to carry guns would also need to be crystal clear about when they could use a gun. For example, should they open fire if a student is simply aiming a gun at them or another person? Or should they wait until the other armed assailant starts firing? Because there is so much ambiguity, the majority of teaching staff neither want, nor need the responsibility and liability that being armed would carry.

It would Compromise the Teacher – Student Relationship

For decades now, students have been learning that violence is wrong and totally unacceptable. With armed teachers, students would be receiving mixed messages about what is right and wrong and this may lead to out of character behavior which has been brought on by confusion. Yes, students deserve to feel safe when they are trying to gain an education but at what cost? Certain individuals may even be afraid to do regular stuff like talk with a friend in class or be late for lessons because they feel threatened that their teachers are armed.

It takes time for a teacher to build a good relationship with a student and this is usually based on trust and mutual respect. It may be difficult for a student to feel as comfortable with a teacher if they are aware that the teacher is armed. Some people are naturally more sensitive than others and prefer not to be exposed to guns in any shape or form, so a school which is staffed with armed teachers could potentially suffer from communication and attendance problems.

It is the school’s responsibility to keep staff and students protected, and not that of individual teachers. If all teachers were forced to carry concealed weapons then this would deter many people from choosing teaching as a career. It’s a vocational type of job and that’s why most people decide to teach. They want to educate children and help them to become well rounded, mature individuals. If they are armed then they are not able to do their job properly because they would lose respect, trust and admiration from many students. Working hard to gain the relevant teaching qualifications would no longer be enough. They would have to undergo thorough training on how to handle and fire a gun as well. Teaching and guns just don’t go together and that’s why the arming of teachers is inappropriate and morally wrong.

Do you feel that it’s wrong for teachers to be armed? Are there better ways to protect students?

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