The security guards at Loy Norrix are the first line of defense for any threats towards the safety of staff and students. However, people who want more protection for students say that security staff are not able to provide enough security towards students. People who support gun freedom also argue that security guards aren’t efficient enough to protect students and support the extra protection that teachers and staff would offer should they be trained and allowed to have concealed firearms.
After the Sandy Hook elementary school incident, in which teachers and students were gunned down, many states were prompted to act due to a threat of an armed gunman, according to an article on CBS News by Lucy Madison. Following the shooting, five states gave administrators the authority to train and arm their teachers and in 2013 over 80 bills were passed in at least 33 states that would train teachers to carry a firearm, according to Kate Murphy of NBC News.
According to Michigan Legislature, a Michigan bill that is in the senate would allow people, such as teachers and school staff, to carry concealed weapons in a pistol free zone such as a school. The bill was proposed by lawmakers in order to reduce the risk of danger to its students
In reality the bill towards allowing concealed weapons in schools is counterproductive. Staff members and teachers should not be required or allowed to carry concealed weapons in the classroom or around the school.
Since Columbine and other recent school shootings, there has been a sharp increase in school security across the nation. More security guards roam the halls of schools, more safety measures, like lockdown drills, are in place to protect students, and more precautions are taken towards ensuring a safer environment in the school zone.
As of right now, Michigan state law prevents people from carrying concealed firearms on school property. However, a loophole in the law does allow people to openly carry their firearm in a school zone. According to Jonathan Oosting of MLive, “The only people who can carry a concealed weapon in schools are security guards, or those who are licensed one by the state.”
To some, the idea of only security guards having the power to protect students is unsettling, and to solve this they suggest that teachers and staff should be trained to carry concealed weapons in the classroom.
A main concern about teachers having a concealed weapon in the classroom is their mental stability and the effects of having a weapon in the same environment as a student. Some students may feel a sense of intimidation or fear towards a teacher having a dangerous and armed weapon at their disposal.
“I think that in order for teachers to become trained to have a concealed weapon in the classroom, they must first go through background checks and mental or physical tests,” said junior Deante Moore.
Going through a mental health check can help ensure that a teacher is capable of handling the responsibility of having a concealed weapon and possibly being required to use it in an emergency, but that does not excuse the uncertainty and fear that some students will feel. There is also no guarantee that teachers would be able to respond to a situation properly as compared to a police officer. Even police officers make mistakes when handling a firearm, imagine the mistakes that a teacher would make and the consequences that would follow.
The knowledge of a staff member having a concealed weapon can have the opposite effect than it intends. According to Colin Lecher of Popular Science, there was no decrease of violent crimes in areas that had schools in which teachers can carry concealed weapon fire. There is a possibility that it can increase the danger of firearms in schools.
“Teachers having firearms can cause students to feel uncertain and feel intimidated, forcing them to maybe bring their own weapon as a way to retaliate or self assurance,” said junior Lauren Hybels.
Carrying concealed weapons would cause an increased safety hazard to other students and would undermine the original intention of people who support the idea of concealed weapons, which is to protect students from harm.
Having staff members and teachers worry more about the notion of having concealed weapons goes against the educational goal of the school which is that students should have “a learning environment of high expectations that should foster and promote success” according to the Kalamazoo Public Schools Board of Education Policy, section 3.1 Philosophy of Learning.
“Teachers should not have to worry about taking care of their concealed weapon when we should be worrying about the education of the students. Yes students should be protected, but there are other precautions and safety measures that protect them,” said government teacher Ryan Allen.
The only positive towards teachers carrying concealed firearms is that it would give extra protection to students. However this extra protection cannot be guaranteed and can cause a greater hazard to the school security.
“I feel pretty comfortable at Norrix, I don’t feel that unsafe thus there is no point in teachers carrying concealed weapons and would cause unnecessary fear,” said senior Matthew Lancaster, “If teachers were able to carry guns then I would start to feel uncomfortable being at Norrix.”
That is what the security guards are for, to make sure that students can feel comfortable and safe enough to spend a majority of their day at Loy Norrix. With the current security measures at Loy Norrix, there is no need for teachers to have concealed weapons.