Law and Politics

Arming Teachers

Guns in the classroom?

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WHAT IT IS

  • Students across America are demanding safer school environments.

  • President Trump has proposed that 20% (or 640,000) of the nation's teachers carry guns to help prevent school mass shootings. [The Washington Post]

  • President Trump expressed only "adept" teachers should be armed and has called for bonuses for those teachers who carry. [NPR]

  • Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, is now considering policy that allows states to use $1 billion in federal money to buy guns their teachers. [POLITCO]

  • Legislative action is currently up to each state, which could be changed by DeVos or Congress.
  • 14 states have passed legislation that allows at least 1 teacher in the building to be armed. [EdWeek]
  • Teachers in Colorado and Ohio can receive firearm training from a group called FASTER
  • Pennsylvania, Maine, North and South Carolina, North Dakota, Montana, and Nebraska are considering bills that would allow teachers to be armed in the classroom. [Idaho State Journal]

PROPOSED SOLUTIONS for

SAFER SCHOOLS

Arming Teachers

Using a Faculty/Administrative Safety Training and Emergency Response (FASTER) program. 

Armed Guards

Having security or first responders

at a school site each day.

            Mental Health

Programs like Safe Schools-Healthy Students are intended to prevent violence and promote safety and discipline.

 

Coordination with other community organizations is required. [U.S. Department of Education]

Gun Control Reform

Having stricter gun control laws so that guns are not accessible

to adolescents.

PRO-ARMS

Time

An FBI study of active shooter incidents between 2000-2013 found that 44 of 63 shootings could have been “over” in five minutes or less. [FBI]

 

Police forces may not be able to arrive in that time window, especially in rural districts. [NPR]

 

According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, 42% of people surveyed believe the Parkland shooting could have been prevented if teachers had guns. [ABC News]

 

 

Properly trained

The FASTER program provides 26 hours of hands-on training over three days. Some consider this extensive training as an option for teachers since it exceeds some requirements for police training. [Ohio Attorney General]

 

All cases of armed teachers are strictly voluntary. [NPR]

 

 

Already there

Nearly 43% of all public schools in the U.S. have armed security staff. [The Guardian]

 

The National Center for Education Statistics found more schools are paying for daily armed guards. [The Guardian]

ANTI-ARMS

Not safe

A common teaching theory for high student performance is to maintain inclusive and safe classroom environments. Some are concerned that students have expressed feeling unsafe knowing someone has a gun in the classroom. [TIME]

 

Having armed teachers could put more students at risk of accidental discharge. In the FASTER training, teachers are told that innocent students could be caught in the crossfire. [Vox]

 

 

Disarmed by the unarmed

An FBI study found that during shootings, unarmed school staff sometimes acted as first responders. In these specific instances, shooters were stopped more frequently by unarmed staff than armed officers. [NPR]

 

 

Losing teachers

Some worry that those considering teaching as a career will be discouraged by the idea of carrying a gun or potential of confronting a deadly shooter.

TWO TEACHERS...

... DIFFERENT OPINIONS

WHERE WE ARE NOW

  • Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, believes arming teachers would “dramatically increase school safety.” [The Washington Post]

  • According to a March 2018 Gallup poll, 73% of U.S. teachers are opposed to arming teachers as a school safety measure. This was a national poll of nearly 500 K-12 teachers. [Gallup]

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics stated the “absence of guns from children’s homes and communities is the most reliable and effective measure to prevent firearm-related injuries in children and adolescents." [American Academy of Pediatrics News]

  • 1 in 5 school police officers says their school is not prepared to handle an active-shooter situation. [EdWeek]

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

  • Read more about how some in the field of medicine would respond. 
  • Why does the United States appear to be the only country in the world with this issue?
  • Read an opinion from an ex-marine and current high school teacher on carrying a gun at school.
  • Would you feel safe or uneasy knowing your teacher had a gun in the classroom?

  • Read the Federal Commission on School Safety recommendations for safer schools here.

Key Vocabulary