Arming Our Educators


Danielle Kahler
Danielle Kahler

Throughout my high school years, I’ve discovered that I would like to become a teacher. In light of the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings, I’ve recently found myself wondering what kind of training I’ll be receiving. Will I be required to take classes in self defense and learn how to shoot a gun? And when I am an educator, will I be expected to fire at a person? Are teachers now expected to be unpaid police officers? In my opinion, teachers should not be allowed to carry guns in school.

Although politicians may imagine a scenario where a bad guy barges into a room, a teacher confidently whips out a gun, kills the criminal with one shot and becomes the hero, this is not the case. Time magazine delves into the psychology behind what happens to the mind during a shoot out. Trained officers often experience tunnel vision or something like looking into a kaleidoscope when involved in a gun fight, according to the article “Your Brain in a Shootout: Fear and Flawed Instinct” by Amanda Ripley. Due to this, officers usually hit their targets only 18 percent of the time and “when they fired 16 times at an armed man outside the Empire State Building last summer, they hit nine bystanders and left 10 bullet holes in the suspect—a better-than-average hit ratio.”

So, if trained officers only hit their targets 18 percent of the time, how much training do we expect teachers to undergo? Well, some states propose 1 to 3 days before handing over a firearm to a teacher. However, this is not sufficient training for average citizens. Even years of training does not make a perfect police officer.

Personally, I see more flaws with arming teachers than benefits. Teachers are humans also, and we all know that humans have a wide range of emotions. A teacher who is having a bad day is nothing, but what about a teacher who is having a bad day, that is armed with a gun?

Teachers are put in stressful situations almost every day with children and teens who have not fully developed the areas of their brain that make them think rationally.

Imagine this scenario: two kids get in a fight and a teacher, who is armed with a gun, tries to break them up. Somehow, one of the kids gets a hold of the gun. To me, this is a scary situation, and much more likely to happen than some mass murderer walking into a school. Statistically, schools are one of the safest places. Time magazine notes that the odds of a US student being shot are 1 in 3 million, which is less than being struck by lightening.

In my opinion, people are taking this issue too far. Sometimes horrible things happen and there is nothing we can do about it. People cannot have guns in airports or libraries, so why are we proposing to force teachers to carry guns, some of whom might be morally opposed to it? We should leave the gun handling to trained authorities who have signed up for the job.