Times have changed and now when getting a new classroom you don’t just check for chalk on the chalkboard or the desk and chairs in a row. In recent years teachers are now checking if there is a glass hole in the door; how do you cover it? Or does the door lock from the inside? These are simple ways to protect your students from an active shooter. But do you really need a gun to protect your students?
“The only way to stop a bad guy is a good guy with a gun.” Why is this right? Since the beginning, I have always learned that 2 wrongs don’t make a right, and this is exactly what is happening. In this situation, by having a person that is supposedly a good guy have the same gun that the supposed “bad guy” has, how can this fix things. The gun that the teacher holds can hurt more students for many reasons. For example, by keeping a gun in your classroom, a student can find it, and especially if they are young, this can cause more damage. Also, if you keep in on yourself as a faculty member and a student sees it, they will be so scared. Having a gun in a school can cause physical trauma to a child.
Having a gun can also cause a child emotional trauma. Ms. Fennelly, a teacher at the University of Mississippi, has multiple students and a child who were in the school during a school shooting and fears continuing to attend school. According to Lisa Genova, “chronic stress ‘inhibits neurogenesis in the hippocampus’, damaging the brain’s ability to create new memories.” These school shootings are damaging kids' brains and hurting their futures. Many students have become more “emotionally fragile,” and attention spans have decreased in the past years. These shootings and traumatic experiences have affected these kids dramatically.
Teacher Ms. Fennelly has a great relationship with her students. On one of their 21st birthdays, a friend brought in a “2” and a “1” balloon to tie to their chair. Later in that class period, they heard a bang. The entire class was terrified because they thought there was a school shooter. After a couple of minutes, they realized that the bang was one of the balloons that popped. Imagine your teacher pulling out a gun in that situation. That would be so traumatic. one second talking about John Donne, the next, your teacher is pulling out a gun to stop your “shooter” a balloon.
Do teachers really need guns? Numerous polls have shown that the majority of teachers don’t want to be armed. Also, there has been no evidence to conclude that arming teachers will improve school safety. Opposing this, there is evidence that it has increased incidents of teachers on accident shootings and taking out their guns in front of students. Teachers have hard jobs already, and having to worry about a gun just will add to all the stress. “I love my students, too. I love them enough to recognize that increased their exposure to guns cost them intellectually and physically
24 hours, one day, and you're ready. The new laws in the state of Ohio only require a minimum of 24 hours of training for you to be able to have a gun in your classroom. Is this enough time to be trusted with a gun? Should teachers have guns? A kindergarten teacher from Rittman, Ohio, Mandi believes that you should have a gun. “We just feel helpless, it’s not enough” all the protection that she has done to make sure her kids are safe is not enough. So, she signs up for training to allow her to have a gun.
FASTER is the program Ohio teachers go through to get their guns. This foundation has given guns to at least 2,600 educators. They believe that the way to stop the bad guys and the school shooters is with a good guy having a gun and being able to fight back. After going through a background check, you would go through the course. These 26-hour courses include shooting from distances up to 50 ft., practice simulations inside of schools, and de-escalation of situations. Also, bias and racism are practiced, so when you see intermixed races, you don’t form conclusions. Micheal Weinman, director of government and affairs for the Fraternal Order of Police in Ohio, “That, to us, is just outrageous.” He believes that there should be more hours because police officers have to do more than 700 hours of training. Supporters say 24 hours is enough because police train for everything, while school employees focus on the active shooter. Even though both perspectives are reasonable, I agree with Micheal Weinman. Even though maybe not 700 hours 24 is not enough because when in a school, there are students everywhere, and with a wrong move or shot, you could cause more harm or even kill another kid.
Mandi, along with many other teachers, works in a rural area. In these areas, police stations can be around 20 minutes away, and they don’t have the funding to have security guards outside the schools. At Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the police weren’t able to be called until 5 minutes into the shooting, and it took them another 4 minutes to get there. In the end, 20 students and 6 staff members were killed. Similarly, in Parkland, Florida, a gunman killed 17 people in under 6 minutes. This is why it is good for a couple of staff members at schools to be trained in using firearms because they can help if a gunman comes into the school. The trained faculty can help slow down or de-escalate the situation until the police have time to arrive at the school.
As one of the prerequisites for the FASTER program, you have to take a class on concealed carry training. Mandi, among other teachers, carries their guns on them; this may be a problem when hugging or being near a student. Mandi decided “she will carry her pistol: inside her waistband, in a holster… She did handstands to check that her gun remained secure. When students come for a hug, she plans to turn her hip to direct them to the other side of her body.” Even though this is a great plan, what would she do if these 5-year-old kids saw she had a gun? Or would she tell them and their parents in the beginning? Having a gun can be very dangerous, especially if it is in the little kid's hands.
The evidence that is shown in this article, I believe is credible and reliable. The article used multiple fact-based arguments to back up their claim that teachers should have guns. Before reading this article, I didn’t believe that teachers should have guns and that it would just put the students at more risk of getting hurt. Afterward, even though I am not completely convinced that all teachers should have guns if a teacher is properly trained and keeps it away from the students, it wouldn’t be a bad idea if some faculty members at each school have a gun.
Rebecca is a BBG from Jericho, New York, who shares a birthday with her dad.
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
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