Should teachers be allowed to carry a concealed weapon?

Some Carroll seniors express their points of view on the national debate.

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Should teachers be allowed to carry a concealed weapon?

Whether teachers should carry guns is the subject of debate.

Whether teachers should carry guns is the subject of debate.

Flickr

Whether teachers should carry guns is the subject of debate.

Flickr

Flickr

Whether teachers should carry guns is the subject of debate.

Mark Amlin

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A teenage girl, her eyes filled with tears, stood at a podium and said, “We cannot protect our guns before we protect our children.”

Her name is Florence Yared, and she is a survivor of the St. Valentine’s Day 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, that killed 17 people. Yared was quoted by AJ Willingham, a reporter for CNN, in a story published on February 21, 2018.

According to data from the Washington Post, since the devastating massacre at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, the United States has seen more than 230 school shootings, not including ones at colleges or universities. 

This alarming data leads some people to ask, “Should teachers be allowed to carry a concealed weapon?”

The controversial topic is debated in homes, in classrooms, in schools, in churches, in Congress, and even within the walls of the White House.

President Trump said, according to an article written by David Smith in The Guardian on February 21, 2018, “An attack has lasted, on average, about three minutes. It takes five to eight minutes for responders, for the police to come in, so the attack is over. If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly.”

One of the pros of arming teachers is that the presence of a firearm can help save lives. If a student knows that a teacher is armed, then that might be enough to prevent that student from committing an act of violence. If teachers are appropriately trained in using a gun, then they can take the shot and control the situation before the police even arrive at the scene. 

Andrew Tickner, a senior at Archbishop Carroll, supports this idea and said, “Teachers should be armed because it takes time for the police to arrive and there is no guarantee that anyone will survive before they get here.”

A second pro of arming teachers is that it can save school districts a lot of money. The cost of one full-time security guard is about $50,000 per year in the United States, but many school districts could train several staff members for about the same amount of money. 

A third pro of arming teachers is that it would increase school security. Having teachers who are willfully armed can heighten security to ensure that students have a safe environment to learn.

Tara Berridge, a senior at Archbishop Carroll, said, “Teachers should be armed, but only if they are comfortable with the idea. They should be properly trained on how to react to a lock-down crisis in a school environment. They are a shield for the students and it is a teacher’s job to protect them.” 

On the other hand, there are several cons to  arming teachers.

One of those cons is that teachers could target their own students. Even one teacher having a mental breakdown and using the weapon is a risk that should not be taken. Jason Abiuso, another senior at Archbishop Carroll, believes that teachers should not be armed “because there are many bad people in this world and you can’t trust teachers not to get angry and pull out their guns and shoot innocent students.”

A second con of arming teachers is that it puts the teacher and the school into a position of liability. The teacher and the school now become responsible for any incident that occurs with the use of that gun. 

A third con of arming teachers is the responsibility of the school district for the cost and training of the firearm. The cost of a high-quality, name-brand, handgun ranges from $300 to $1,500. The money spent on books and supplies would be sacrificed to purchase guns and ammunition. 

The pros and cons of arming teachers in the classroom is a topic that requires much more discussion at all levels- from the family to the federal government. Whatever the consensus is regarding the idea of arming teachers, schools should provide a safe place for students to learn and grow. Action needs to be taken before it is too late and more innocent lives are lost.