Should teachers be armed?


Fact Box

  • On April 23, 2024, Tennessee state legislators passed a bill, later signed by Governor Bill Lee, allowing school staff and teachers to be trained in gun safety and armed on campus.
  • Tennessee is the latest of 34 states permitting teachers to carry guns with administrator approval and training. Alabama, California, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin do not allow public teachers to carry guns on campus. 
  • The legislation follows a year after Tennessee’s deadliest state shooting in Nashville at Covenant School shooting. Three nine-year-old children and three adults were shot by 28-year-old Audrey Hale, a trans-identifying person, before being killed by police.
  • According to Pew Research, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that gun deaths among US children rose 50% between 2019 and 2021.  
  • The Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 forbids firearms from being within 1,000 feet of a school unless the individual is permitted through state licenses. The Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 mandates expulsion for any student found in possession of a firearm on campus.

Maha (No)

Despite school shooting incidents in 2023 reaching the highest total on record since 1966, arming teachers shouldn't be considered a solution. Even teachers themselves agree. A study by RAND, the research organization that aims to make communities safer through public policy analysis and solution suggestions, revealed that 54% of educators are against carrying firearms on school premises.  

Firstly, teachers can't be as skilled as specially trained law enforcement officers. They lack extensive firearms skills and the mental preparation to take a life. Moreover, armed teachers are more likely to be in the way of officers handling an active shooter situation. Just the existence of firearms on campus poses a considerable risk. There have been many incidents where guns were misplaced in different parts of the school, such as locker rooms. In some cases, these misplaced guns were stolen by students. 

Access to firearms further triples the risk of suicide while doubling the risk of homicide. There are also many instances where teachers or school staff accidentally discharged their firearms. All these risks are bound to change the dynamic at schools. Students will be robbed of feeling safe, which may lead to stress, depression, and anxiety, leading to a decline in their academic performance and overall well-being. 

Like teachers and students, schools, too, will be affected. Insurance companies may refuse to insure this practice or indemnify schools from monetary claims. The legal system may also not exempt schools from all legal liability. So, it's best to limit teachers to being educators, mentors, nurturers, and inspirers. If they are to wield any weapons, the pen which is mightier than the sword should suffice. 

Elisa (Yes)

More than at any time in history, violence has manifested dramatically in the public school system with a rise of physical assault on teachers. Unfortunately, desperate times call for desperate measures, and teachers should be armed for many reasons. Now that many schools have become battlefields, they should be treated as such. The unfortunate truth is threats of violence in schools are rising, and none of the current measures requiring schools to be 'safe spaces' or 'gun-free zones' seem to be stopping this. Arming teachers and staff give them a 'fighting chance,' and as long as proper training is provided, it can save lives. 

Many states are already taking notice, and there are already places where it is legal for teachers to carry arms. More than half of teachers agree that they should be armed. Many schools across the nation, such as this school in Iowa, are properly prepared for potential school shootings.

Many professionals, such as school psychologists, support these measures. Moreover, these programs to arm teachers are well thought out, emphasizing avid training. In specific programs, teachers have to have a valid handgun carry permit, undergo a background check, complete 40 hours of additional training, and even pass a psychological evaluation. It's not just about throwing guns at teachers, but rather, properly preparing them for the modern educational battleground. 

Biden said, 'Teaching should not be a life-threatening job.' However, since it is getting to that point, it might be time to help teachers defend themselves so they can do their jobs properly. As The Washington Post admits, 'Yes, it has come to this,' and perhaps, desperate times call for drastic measures. We should arm teachers to save lives.

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