By Sara Fraser
Sara Fraser discusses why Trump’s proposal to arm and train teachers to have guns in classrooms is not a beneficial solution to the gun controversy in America.
Imagine living in a world where teachers are not only paid to teach but also to kill others in order to protect their students’ lives.
In the devastating aftermath of the Feb. 14 Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting in Florida, many Americans have pleaded with our government to do something in terms of stricter gun control — and on Feb. 15, president Trump issued a response.
At a press conference on that day, the president proposed the idea of arming and training at least 20% of teachers, later claiming on Twitter that he did not say that we should give guns to teachers, but that he is talking about “giving concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training experience … 20% of teachers, a lot, would now be able to.” He also stated that “a little bit of a bonus” would be given to these educators who, somehow, would be equipped to use a gun in the event of a school shooting. Trump’s theory is that if we arm teachers with the very weapons that could be used against them and their students in the event of a school shooting, individuals will somehow be less likely to bring a firearm to school.
The point of gun regulation should not be just to minimize deaths; it should be about attempting to end deaths caused by guns; particularly those of children at school. So instead of fighting guns with guns, why can’t we try to eliminate the way these young people are obtaining the weapons?
The solution to this problem is not arming “well-trained” teachers. Wayne Lapierre, CEO of the NRA, recently commented on this issue by stating, “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” However, Lapierre’s seemingly simple idea has been proven by the events of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting not likely to be effective. In fact, on Feb. 14, there was an armed guard on campus during the shooting who waited outside the building before finally pursuing the shooter.
We shouldn't have to be “preparing” or “anticipating” another school shooting as if it is an expectation; we should be stopping them altogether. Instead of preparing for the next school shooting by arming teachers, we should be taking preventive measures as a country by further restricting the process of getting a gun. Current Tennessee regulation deems anyone over 18 years old eligible to buy a gun if it is classified as a shotgun or rifle. In fact, Americans in most states can buy a gun before they can drink alcohol or drive a bus.
During the same press conference, Trump stated, “We have to harden our schools, not soften them up.”
Personally, I don’t want to go to a school where teachers are expected to use weapons or where guns are as commonplace in the classroom as pens and pencils. School shootings should not be normalized to the extent that we are focused on preparing for them. I cannot even imagine the thought of my favorite teachers wielding firearms, always on-guard for signs of an intruder. There are enough problems with our education system already. From a purely fiscal perspective, training these teachers to handle firearms safely would cost the federal government hundreds of millions that could be spent on school supplies and professional development, instead of bullets.
I do not think the answer to this tragic problem is to keep arming more people. The research is pretty clear: more guns equals more deaths caused by guns.
Now, especially, it is important to be teaching teachers how to recognize signs of bullying, ostracism, or any number of other problems that plague our schools. Instead of asking teachers to be prepared to kill another human being to protect their students, we should let them do their jobs as educators and take more preventive measures in keeping guns out of classrooms.