Arming teachers is NOT the answer

This Echoes Editorial was agreed upon, 9-0

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In the wake of recent school shootings and student protests, President Donald Trump suggested arming instructors at education facilities.

His remarks sparked a number of reactions, from communities that supported the idea to those who were horrified by the suggestion.

This split support comes from not just citizens, but the very teachers who would be armed if the Federal government appointed funds for teachers who purchase firearms and receive training.

“[Arming teachers] is not ideal, but it is the world we live in. It’s much preferable to limiting constitutional freedoms,” said one SHS instructor. “I don’t want to hide in a closet and wait to be shot. So it seems better than nothing, which is what we have now.”

While the school has continued increasing security measures, such as limiting the access to uncontrolled building exits, the teachers remain unarmed.

How far is too far? When surveyed by The Echoes, 75% of instructors said they would be uncomfortable being armed with a gun in the classroom. Even among those who said they would be comfortable with a firearm, 57.14% of them dislike the idea of arming teachers.

However, America seems to be willing to consider anything to find a solution that will end school shootings. One teacher said, “I’m not sure if there is one. We all understand there is risk every time we leave our house. The only thing we can hope to do is minimize the risk.”

This doesn’t seem sufficient for many reasons: First, it is unacceptable to view the routine death of students as a modern day inconvenience. While many aspects of today’s gun debate have become partisan, surely that is not one.

Every student life is sacred. End of story.

Secondly, Americans have not exhausted all available options.

A total ban on guns would never succeed in Scottsbluff, NE or other rural communities, where many people have firearms for recreational shooting or hunting. However, without giving up second amendment freedoms, it would be possible to put further restrictions on firearms.

Background checks, a 48-hour waiting period, and mandatory training before purchase of a firearm could help decrease the number of shootings without depriving responsible gun owners of their rights. Additionally, current gun laws should be rigidly enforced.

Finally, many teachers opposed to arming teachers suggested providing more mental health services and programs that give each student a trusted adult relationship.

The intent here is to help students who may be at risk and, hopefully, prevent any would-be shooters.

As the SBPS school district expands their counseling team, it seems that they are working in this direction. The additional salary of a counselor is less than training and arming every instructor in the building, and would have a more diversified impact on a variety of students.

There are other ways to combat school shootings, without arming instructors within the building. If anything, the presence of armed teachers only increases the risk of danger.

The drawbacks to having armed teachers are too many to be counted. A few of the most dangerous possibilities, though, include a teacher hitting an innocent bystander instead of a shooter, a police officer mistaking an armed teacher for the shooter and attacking them, and even a teacher successfully taking down a shooter and having to deal with the mental and emotional trauma of killing someone.

Arming teachers is not an effective solution to ending school shootings. However, there are solutions we can take to prevent more tragedies. While SBPS schools are taking action, other schools around the nation would benefit from doing the same.

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