Students interact in a classroom.

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The Bug: Say no to arming staff members on campus

May 10, 2018

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Photograph: Students interact in a classroom. Creative Commons license

It is an essential concern for guardians to know that their children are always out of harm’s way. When they send them off to school, the students are expected to learn and make joyous memories with their classmates. No parent should have to send their child to school with the fear that they might not walk through that door again. Not having trust in the school system that your child will be shielded from experiencing horrific memories because of no strict gun control laws is unjustifiable.

My classmates and I should not sense that hearing the words “lockdown” on the announcements is the beginning of a nightmare. We should not have to fear someone walking onto campus with the intention of hurting one of us. We should feel protected, safe, and secure while being in any learning environment.

My classmates and I should not sense that hearing the words “lockdown” on the announcements is the beginning to a nightmare.”

— Justyne Bernal

Growing up, the thought of a school shooting never struck me as ever possible. Now, I worry about going to school and not coming back home. Over the span of less than a decade, there has been an escalation in the number of school shootings in the U.S. According to Saeed Ahmed and Christina Walke from CNN news, in 2018, there is a school shooting attempted nearly once a week.

February 14, 2018, a day that is supposed to be filled with love, shifted to a nightmare for dozens of students within seconds. A selfish teen, Nicolas Cruz, opened fire, creating terror at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School. He took the lives of lives of 17 innocent students, leaving a hole in Americans’ hearts, and a demand for change in the way school safety is handled.  It was after an abundant number of school shootings in America that citizens put their foot down and said, “Enough is enough.”

The innocent lives of 17 students were taken, leaving a hole in Americans’ hearts, and a demand for change in the way school safety is handled.”

— Justyne Bernal

In response, President Donald Trump suggested to arm teachers and staff with weapons. The main objective of this plan would be for the faculty to protect themselves and the students from intruders on campus.

It would be absurd to let this proposal go through without considering the repercussions. Educators should not be forced to have weapons in their hands because it would: create a distraction, it is costly and time-consuming, and teachers could use the weapons when not necessary. It is insane to even think this plan would lead to a drastic decrease in school shootings.

There is no expectation for an educator to be handling a weapon. There has never been and it should never be a consideration. When someone says the word teacher, I think of school, learning, and positive change — not someone who has to “bear arms” on campus. Adding to this, a teacher from California was quoted as saying, “I specifically came into teaching because I wasn’t going to need to do anything with a gun.”

I don’t need to add another concern of a student reaching for my weapon to the list of 1,000 things going through my head as I work with a kid.”

— Special needs teacher

Carrying weapons would bring a distraction to the teachers, students, and even parents. According to Sam Stein of The Daily Beast, a special needs teacher agrees with this aspect.

“I don’t need to add another concern of a student reaching for my weapon to the list of 1,000 things going through my head as I work with a kid,” the teacher said.

As a student, the constant threat of my teacher having a weapon would draw attention from my education. What if an undisciplined student gets hold of the weapon when the teacher is lecturing? That student would have the power to end lives within seconds. It’s possible for things to go wrong. Ken Corbett of the Huffington Post mentions that the presence of guns will necessitate talk of violence, which I agree with. It would not make me feel any safer than faculty not having guns but rather more frightened.

Picture a kindergarten teacher with a weapon around children that are barely learning right from wrong. Does the U.S want children to believe that carrying a gun around is allowed anywhere? Teachers are hired to teach, not to be forced to carry a weapon in their classroom. Students go to school to become educated and not to be filled with the fear that someone, like their teacher, has the ability to take their lives because of a foolish school safety law.

Educators are human beings too; they become vexed, annoyed, stressed, and angry, all of which are possible while on campus. It should be understood that just like anyone else, they sometimes feel like they are between a rock and a hard place. A teacher could be having a bad day and they could lose control of themselves. Then what? Do they open fire? End lives of precious students? Harm themselves? It would just add heat to the situation to put a weapon in the hands of a person that is required to have a lot of patience to do their job.

School should be filled with positive memories, not ones that will be unbearable to talk about forever.”

— Justyne Bernal

There have been situations when teachers physically or verbally abuse their students because they have reached their maximum boiling point. For example, according to U.S News, teacher Brittany Stevens was fired and charged with three counts of second-degree child abuse. This occurred after she physically and verbally abused an autistic child. In her eyes, it was disciplining him and in his eyes? it was fear. What could have been the outcome if the teacher had a weapon in her hands? It would just add fuel to the fire. Teachers choose a career where they can make a positive change in their student’s lives, not carry a weapon and in any way harm them.

To add to this controversy, it would not be very beneficial to spend millions of dollars and long hours trying to make this plan become a success. In some situations, schools are not even able to supply students with certain necessities. Who would pay for the guns and training?

Not only would arming teachers be a safety concern, it would be a major risk for the country’s economy. It would be an economic shift for our country that would affect thousands. According to Philip Bump of The Washington Post, to own a gun one must pass a safety requirement test that costs at least $100. Gun users must also be properly trained, and this would come with a large price tag and long days. It would be too time-consuming for a teacher to become familiar with a weapon. A commonly known weapon, a Glock G17, costs about $500 each. Do the math and that is a grand total of billions to arm each faculty member on campus. After all these expenses, it would put the U.S in debt for a solution that possibly could not be very effective. Teachers should be preparing to teach their lesson and not how to properly aim a gun at an intruder.

Despite all the negative factors, Trump’s goal is the same as Americans who disagree with arming teachers; everyone wants to reach the same finish: to protect staff and students from danger.”

— Justyne Bernal

The money should be spent on other solutions that are guaranteed to be effective. This includes installing a high-tech alarm system, at least two-armed campus police officers, door position switches, and panic buttons in the office area in case of an emergency.

Despite all the negative factors, Trump’s goal is the same as Americans who disagree with arming teachers; everyone wants to reach the same finish: to protect staff and students from danger. Teachers should not be forced to arm themselves with a weapon for various reasons. The most convenient way to prevent school shootings remains up in the air.

Educators should not have a weapon to distract themselves or others. They should not waste time and money to handle a weapon during school hours. A student should not worry about their teacher creating terror with a weapon on campus. School should be filled with positive memories, not ones that will be unbearable to talk about forever.

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