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Is It a Good Idea to Arm Teachers?

Kwade is a freelance writer who is always in pursuit of education. He feels every subject is fascinating and worth studying.


“Arming Teachers, Are You Nuts?”

In response to mentally unstable people attacking schools, some demand arming teachers. Regardless of your views on guns and gun control, seriously asking this question is wise.

“Are you crazy? You want teachers to carry guns?” A man in a suit asks as he pushes his glasses up the bridge of his nose.

I didn’t even say that, Glasses. I’m saying it’s wise to ask the question.

“Why?” He prods, “It’s a ridiculous idea, anyway.”

Maybe. However, people who think it’s a good idea are asking it. Therefore, it’s important to have an answer, if possible.

This article is going to ignore other questions about gun control. It’s purely about whether or not we should be arming teachers.

At first blush, arming teachers may seem like a logical way to keep kids safe. Gun owners keep firearms on hand to keep their own families safe. What better way to keep vulnerable people safe than having the responsible adult carry a firearm? I’ll admit, there are teachers I’d be happy to have carrying a firearm. What would happen though if we made it mandatory for teachers to carry guns?

“Everyone will catch a bullet from accidents and there will be many more school shootings.” Glasses says in a snarky tone.

Speculation aside, I send my kids to school so they can have a specialist teach them. Let’s talk about the teacher’s role.


What Responsibilities Does a Teacher Have?

There’s been a gradual change in the school system over the last twenty years. Teachers do more today than ever before. You may have noticed schools expect parents to have a closer hand in children’s homework. This is in part because parental involvement helps kids learn and feel good about what they’re learning.

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Why else might that be? Teachers are being worked harder than ever. Some of the overflow is being pushed to the parents. Unpopular opinion, I know, but hear me out.

When I was in school, my teachers had a lot of work to do. They put together lesson plans, taught in class, assigned homework, graded homework, and oversaw (and graded) tests. Teachers had to keep up on first aid and CPR as well. All of this while seeing to the safety of children. On a semi-regular basis, teachers had to attend workshops, or meetings on new developments in education. Many of my teachers worked on some of these things during class. While administering a test, for example.

Today, we’ve added massively to an already full workload. On top of specific regulations and curriculum that have to be followed, our expectation as parents has increased. More than ever we understand many kids have special needs. From allergies to learning disabilities, more kids need special attention to be safe in school. All of these things take time to deal with, and time to learn about. Teachers are expected to keep our kids safe from accidents and medical conditions. They have to understand special needs that we as parents find daunting in only one kid. Imagine needing to keep track of thirty kids with varying medical conditions. This often includes a medical workup for kids with severe allergies, asthma, epilepsy, or other conditions that can be life-threatening.

When I was in school, teachers regularly dealt with other issues during class. Sometimes grading papers, sometimes making phone calls. Occasionally taking a moment to breathe. Now, a teacher who uses a quiet moment to do anything else may be called negligent. For being distracted for five seconds. Literally.

Personally, I think we need to dial it back a bit. We could hire a specialist to support teachers in any class with medical needs, for example.


Do We Really Want to Add Firearm Training?

Think about that. Really consider it. Do you want an untrained teacher carrying a loaded weapon in class? I don’t want someone with no training carrying a gun around my kid, do you?

“I sure don’t.” Glasses says.

On that, we agree.

If we’re going to arm teachers, I want them well trained. A firearms safety course, crisis management, and a couple of hours a month on the shooting range minimum.

That said, I want my teachers to be effective teachers. We already tax teachers too hard. Adding more to their workload isn’t something I want. Is it something you want?

Drop the Idea of Arming Teachers

If you’re really interested in getting rid of gun-free zones, drop the idea of arming teachers. Push for armed security (or police) patrolling school grounds. My high school had the local police patrol the campus along their regular routes. It worked very well. Let’s have specialists look out for our kids. Both in education, and in protection.

Do you have something to add? I’d love to hear it in the comments.

© 2018 kwade tweeling

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