After the tragic, deathly mass shooting that occurred on Feb. 14th, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, there have been continuous debates on whether or not teachers should be armed with guns.
This school shooting attack left 17 innocent and defenseless students and faculty members dead. In the world we live in today, students no longer feel safe going to school. No child should ever be scared about whether they will be safe going to school, and no parent should ever have to worry about whether their child will make it home that day. As a freshman education major at Shippensburg University, who is studying to become a kindergarten teacher, I am concerned with the safety in schools. In order to make school shootings less frequent and catastrophic, teachers should have the right to access a firearm in their place of work, but along with that should come strong restrictions and limitations.
I do believe in the 2nd Amendment and that people have the right to bear arms should they choose to. However, there comes a point where there has to be certain gun law restrictions, such as in depth background checks and medical analyses. These restrictions should be put in place to ensure that potential gun owners are not only mentally stable but that they are not susceptible to crime. Not just anyone should be able to get their hands on a gun. I do not think people who are mentally unstable or dangerous should ever be allowed to walk into a gun shop and easily obtain a firearm; however, that is what our country has come to. Also, I think certain assault rifles, such as the AR-15, should not be available to everyday people. There is no explanation as to why people would need war weapons on a day-to-day basis to protect themselves; they should only be provided to the military. All in all, I believe that limitations should be made to the gun law reform, which would allow the right people to obtain a gun, and the wrong people to be restricted.
There has been a significant rise in fear and desire to find an effective way to protect our country’s students and teachers. In the article entitled, “Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith emotionally lists all 25 fatal school shootings since Columbine,” writer Matthew Diebel of USA Today states, “Since Columbine in 1999, there have been 25 fatal, active school shootings at elementary and high schools in America.” In all of those tragedies, one unstable person with a horrific mindset entered a school and took the lives of many defenseless people. These victims were not expecting their world to be shattered, and they certainly were not prepared for it. School shootings cause terrified students and teachers to huddle together in fear of the shooter finding them and taking their lives. However, is that the best way to protect themselves? Definitely not in today’s society, which is why we need to open our minds to the possibility of arming teachers.
As a future elementary school teacher, I was deeply affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting because I immediately envisioned myself in the role of the teacher during the attack. The tragedy took place on Dec. 14th, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, and the victims were students in kindergarten and 1st grade. According to a CNN news article, classes were underway at the elementary school with about 700 students present when the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, entered the school. He was able to get past the newly implemented security system by using an assault rifle to “literally [shoot] an entrance into the building.” Lanza shot and killed 20 children, all ages six and seven, as well as six adults. Lanza then took his own life in a classroom as law enforcement officers were approaching. This horrific attack left the world completely shaken, and it will continue to be known as one of the worst school shootings in United States history.
Something has to be done in order to better protect innocent students and faculty from being killed in their place of work or study. Teachers that are properly certified, equipped, and willing should be able to have a firearm in the classroom for protection. Extreme measures have to be taken in order for lives to be saved in these deadly attacks. Teachers should not be mandated to carry guns; however, they should be given the opportunity if they choose to. There would be intense regulations and restrictions on these chosen teachers in order to ensure safety in the classroom. For example, guns would be locked away in a safe with a password that only the firearm-bearing teacher would know. This way, children would not be able to access it or accidentally bump into it. If there was an emergency in a school where they would have to go into lockdown, the teacher could lock the door, make sure his/her students are safely hidden in the classroom, and then retrieve their firearm from the safe. They would be able to sit near the door, and if the shooter were to break into the classroom, the teacher would be able to defend himself and his/her students.
If you were a student and you were told your school was going into lockdown because there was an active shooter, wouldn’t you seek comfort in the fact that your teacher could protect you? Although it will not completely take away the fear of the shooter finding you and your classroom, you would find some comfort in knowing that if they did, you would be able to protect yourself instead of being completely defenseless. This is a much smarter strategy than just hoping that the shooter never finds you. If that shooter does find your classroom, the teacher would be able to stop them before they possibly take the lives of every single person in that room.
Many people only see the negatives about teachers carrying guns that they do not open their minds to the possibility of how many lives they could be saving by having one. Many arguments are made that teachers are not meant to have that role and that carrying a gun is not part of their job description. That is why I believe it should not be mandated, and only teachers that are willing to take that responsibility should do so. I am an education major and an aspiring elementary school teacher. If I were in charge of a group of young children in a classroom and there was a rampant shooter walking around my school, I would make sure I was doing everything in my power to defend my young, scared, defenseless students. Another argument that could be made against teachers carrying guns is that their students may be scarred by seeing their teacher shoot someone. However, think about how scarred they would be if someone came in and shot their teacher and friends to death right in front of them.
People who are against teachers carrying guns may say that the more reasonable way to protect students and faculty at school is to enforce stricter security at the entrance of the buildings. However, we can see from the Sandy Hook shooting that that might not be the best approach. The gunman from that attack used his rifle to break through the security system and get into the classrooms. If a shooter really has his/her mind set on getting into that school, nothing will stop them. Instead of being naive and defenseless against the possibility of a shooter entering our schools, think about the benefits that a trusted teacher carrying a gun would have. They would be able to protect innocent children and save multiple lives by stopping a shooter before they could go on a rampage. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather have my courageous teacher carry a gun for emergencies than possibly have my life taken by one.