The Tulane Hullabaloo

In wake of Parkland shooting, arming teachers will prove impractical

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The idea of arming teachers is a bold idea but not a new one. The Trump Administration first flirted with the idea of arming teachers back in January 2017 when Education Secretary Betsy DeVos mentioned needing guns in schools to protect from grizzly bears. Though it is a ridiculous scenario, DeVos appeared to be laying down the framework for the idea of guns in schools to protect children. The idea of a “good guy with a gun” is a noble one, but it is fundamentally flawed. Arming teachers would not only be ineffective, but it would create a police state especially hostile to marginalized students.

To some, arming teachers seems reasonable. Shooters continually attack schools, so gun control is either ineffective or out of the question, and there must be some armed deterrent in the school. The intention may be pure, but essentially, this idea is not only ineffective, but highly dangerous.

Teachers are neither the police nor the military. They are in schools to teach and guide. Defending the school from an armed intruder is not in their training or expectations. In a scenario in which even the deputy went to get cover and back up, one cannot expect a teacher to be able to single-handedly save the day.

The world is not a Rambo movie. Even if one were to give a teacher a gun and training, and they were more than willing to fight to defend the school, there is nothing to say they would be successful. Trained officers in gunfights only have about an 18 percent accuracy rate. Imagine if a teacher with even less training were to be thrust into a firefight in an environment with lots of children and innocent bystanders. This is compounded by how jumpy the average person would be during a gunfight.

Even if all the issues above were magically accounted for, the idea would be wildly uneconomical. There are around 3.2 million teachers in the U.S. If we were to arm only one in every 10 teachers in the U.S. with the standard issue Glock, it would cost around $128 million dollars. Adding on training, pay, certification and upkeep, this price would only rise. This idea is not just unsafe, but an extremely poor allocation of resources, especially when teachers already receive some of the lowest salaries for public workers.

More than being dangerous and unfeasible, this idea is also extremely harmful to the well-being of children, especially those from marginalized communities. Treating students like prisoners, having them walk carefully-patrolled hallways under the careful eye of armed guards, is as authoritarian as it gets. Schools should not be treated like prisons, and students should not be treated like prisoners, even if it is supposedly for “their protection.” The dangers of this idea are demonstrated by the effects of police in school. Between 2010 and 2015, police have severely injured 28 students and killed one. Most of the victims in these cases were black. Arming teachers may have similar effects. All it takes is one racist, unstable or paranoid teacher to end a child’s life.

Due to the impracticality, danger and deeply authoritarian implications of arming teachers, we must reject this idea on all grounds at all levels. No elementary, high school or college campus should ever have armed teachers.

This is an opinion and does not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo. Quinn is a freshman at Newcomb-Tulane College. He can be reached at [email protected] 

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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans
In wake of Parkland shooting, arming teachers will prove impractical