Arming Teachers and School Shooting

Imagine it is one-thirty in the afternoon and you are walking through a busy high school. You are likely imagining hearing the melody of children laughing, lockers closing, and feet shuffling through the hallways. The last thing you are expecting to hear is running, screaming and the ringing of bullets flying through halls.

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Now stop imagining, as a result of the increase of guns in America this nightmare has become a reality. Students already have enough to worry about, on top of schoolwork, grades, and teachers the last thing they should have to worry about is their safety. It should not only be the school’s job to educate the students but to protect them as well. To do this, we should arm teachers as a line of defense, implement firearm safety courses in schools, and pay more attention to the mental health of students. There are three significant steps we need to take to decrease school shootings dramatically. The first step would be to protect our schools by arming teachers. From just a minor cut on the playground, teachers are the first responders when a crisis arises. Therefore, it should be the teacher’s job to be armed to quicken the response time when the first shots are fired in a school.

According to the National Sheriffs’ Association, the average school shooting lasts 12.5 minutes while the average police response is 18 minutes. Within 18 minutes many victims waiting for medical assistance will bleed out, however; if schools were to arm teachers that response time could be cut by over 15 minutes. Even though using teachers as the first line of defense would result in fewer fatalities, there is still a considerable amount of people opposed to the idea. In opposition to arming teachers in the classroom, representative Val Demings asserts, “Giving guns to teachers to stop school shootings is preposterous on every level. First, we should prevent mass shootings, not complicate them. As the former Chief of the Orlando Police Department, I can tell you that having multiple armed individuals present in an active shooter event only complicates the response. Arming teachers would lead to taxpayer-sponsored shootouts, endangering out-skilled and out-gunned teachers, and putting children in the crossfire.” Because some people and politicians are uneasy with the idea of allowing teachers to manage a classroom and a gun, we can agree to arm only the administrative instead of every teacher. The disadvantage of the agreement is that supplying just the administrative with weapons provides less security, although; this would still maintain a shorter response time as well as lower the stress on teachers. Arming teachers is a viable option as a last resort to combat gun violence in our schools, but there is a way we can try to prevent these shootings completely, and it begins with a single class. The second action we need to take in order to decrease school shootings is to implement gun safety courses in schools.

As a reaction to the increase of gun purchases and mass shootings, schools and local communities should take matters in their own hands by providing young students with early gun safety courses to make them more aware of the dangers of Firearms. From “Dada” to something they saw on TV, kids start to mimic the things they see and hear from a remarkably young age, for instance, we have all witnessed that one kindergartener with his hand in the shape of a gun shooting at the “bad guys.” According to a study done by the Pediatric Practice Research Group, “Twenty-five percent of three- to four-year-olds, seventy percent of five- to six-year-olds, and ninety percent of seven- to eight-year-olds have a two-finger trigger-pull strength of at least ten pounds, the fifth percentile one-finger trigger-pull strength of adult women. Forty of sixty-four handguns require a trigger-pull strength of less than five pounds; nineteen of sixty-four require five to ten pounds “. For parents who own guns, this can be especially nerve-racking, but the proper safety training can put these parents at ease. The Eddie Eagle GunSafe program is an example of a gun safety program that promotes firearm safety in schools and youth groups.

This program teaches children what to do if they are in a situation where they see a gun. It stresses to students to stop what they are doing, do not touch the gun, leave the area, and tell an adult. Teaching kids to be aware of the dangers of firearms should not only be the school’s job, but the parent’s as well. Parents should talk to their children about how the guns they see portrayed on TV are real and should be taken seriously. These talks can not only prevent more fatal shootings but raise gun awareness. Several steps must be taken to spread gun awareness to cut down on mass shootings in schools. The most important step to lessen school shootings is for teachers and parents to pay more attention to children’s mental health. In many school shooting cases the shooter had been showing signs of mental health issues long before they carried out the act. According to data from the Safe Schools Initiative Report, sixty-one percent of attackers demonstrated a history of suicidal attempts, as well as had a documented history of experiencing symptoms of extreme depression or desperation before an attack.

For schools to be more aware of students struggling with mental health issues, they need to hire more guidance counselors. Most schools have only one guidance counselor for all their students, by employing more they would be able to monitor each student more closely and therefore be able to catch any suspicious behavior early on. It is undeniable that school shootings have become a significant problem in the United States. To turn gun control and gun safety around, we need to have patience and work together. Making such a significant change will not happen in a matter of days, it is going to take much effort and manpower. We need to make a stand to school shootings and prevent them by arming teachers with weapons, providing gun safety courses in schools and paying closer attention to student’s mental health. We need to make a change instead of watching history repeat itself again and again.

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