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D is for Deterrent: Arming Teachers with Guns

Courtesy+of+Coast+Guard+Compass.+%0AMany+schools+now+hire+instructors+for+teachers%2C+so+they+can+handle+guns+safely+during+an+emergency+situation.+
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D is for Deterrent: Arming Teachers with Guns

Courtesy of Coast Guard Compass. 
Many schools now hire instructors for teachers, so they can handle guns safely during an emergency situation.

Courtesy of Coast Guard Compass. Many schools now hire instructors for teachers, so they can handle guns safely during an emergency situation.

Courtesy of Coast Guard Compass. Many schools now hire instructors for teachers, so they can handle guns safely during an emergency situation.

Courtesy of Coast Guard Compass. Many schools now hire instructors for teachers, so they can handle guns safely during an emergency situation.

Lukas Chang, Op-Ed Editor

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After suspect Nikolas Cruz, 19, horrifically murdered seventeen students at Florida High school, the world was shocked. The tragedy that struck dozens of families, the disbelief that gripped the nation, and the growing fear further choked the American public.
With the disbelief also came a sense of understanding that something must be done. After all, this is not the first time such sentiments have struck the consciences of millions of Americans. Columbine High School, Sandy Hook Elementary School—names like these and many more strike a melancholy chord in our hearts.
Prevention, deterrence, solution. The problem with the search for a solution is that although mass school shootings are currently a serious issue, there are no precedents of a series of such events on this large of a scale. Never before in history has such a series of unrelenting tragedies has hit anywhere in the world, relating to gun violence in schools.
We can try to interpret and react to each school shooting as a data point, like the protests against the Stoneman Douglas High school, the reality is that the points form a line, or in other words the problem is a series of uninterrupted mass school shootings, rather than a singular school shooting, something in itself that has never happened before. The numbers increase almost exponentially; according to the New York Times, over four-hundred students and teachers have been shot in school shooting since Sandy Hook. Like a cancer, the problem grows, with no solution in sight.
Another great obstacle is politics. Though everyone agrees there is a problem, tensions are too high to finalize on a single solution. The second amendment, school infrastructure, federal interference, and the duration of time it takes police officers to reach a school— all are being called into question. And perhaps the most fought over and cataclysmic of the topics discussed, tying together politics, personal beliefs, and safety, is the question of arming teachers. The Florida shooting has added to the tension of gun control, and this time, states, teachers, and students are willing to fight for the solution. Multiple states, including Kansas, Ohio, South Dakota, and Texas, are encouraging or permitting teachers to undergo gun training or carry a gun on campus. Political leaders, namely President Trump within the last few weeks, have condoned and even encouraged teachers to take on this duty for children at school.
Despite the pushback from both teachers and students to the new pressure of introducing guns into the classroom, many accept and celebrate the change, and maybe for good reason. In a tweet, Trump stated that “a school shooting lasts, on average, three minutes. It takes police and first responders approximately five to eight minutes to get to the site of the crime.” Not only that, but arming teachers can act as a deterrent, and the correct handling of such weapons, with safe storages in schools, are not hard to achieve.
For certain schools, like the Mountain View School District 200 miles north of Boise, Idaho, arming teachers seems like the best option. For this school district, the nearest police station is forty-five minutes away. Even teachers feel they need a way to fight back if something was to happen. Mike Dominguez, a Mountain View School District Board member, told KIVI that “People are tired of having a target drawn on their back.” According to CNN, the board conducts training to protect students by running simulated scenarios for trained teachers, who on average log more than eighty hours of training before being allowed a weapon. Well certified and safe, the entire process does not cost as much as one may think. Maintaining a gun-training program, according to the documentary “G is for Gun: The Arming of Teachers in America,” costs around 50,000 dollars a year. This is a much better alternative financially for schools like the Mountain View School District who need officers closer to the school. Having one officer on one school costs on average 60,000 per year, the same as an officers salary according to BusinessWeek. However, 50,000 dollars used in a gun training program can train multiple teachers proficiently in a district. At the cost of around 1,000 dollars per teacher according to the Washington Post, the amount of funding is enough to train multiple teachers per school, even in a large school district like the SCUSD. In smaller school districts like Mountain View School District, who might arguably need arms more due to their distance from the police, 50,000 dollars could train more teachers per campus for less money than having a single police officer
However, there are also valid reasons against arming teachers. After asking a student at Wilcox on the matter, he replied that “just the fact that teachers have guns on campus is enough to make me uncomfortable.” Furthermore, there is no evidence that arming teachers would actually help at all. Perhaps the best thing to do is to maintain a sense of safety by school, so obviously, arming teachers is not the universal solution in that regard.
Among the concerns, there is also one of safety. When asked about arming teachers in schools, a student retorted “What if a teacher has a gun, leaves the locker unlocked, and someone uses that to shoot up the school?” Nobody knows what is safer and what is not. Because mass school shootings are such a recent problem, people can only guess what makes them feel safer. As put by an unnamed student from Callisburg High School in Texas, “I feel really safe knowing that I can come to school and if there’s an incident that does happen that they’ll be able to protect us,”
A universal solution has yet to be found, and the conflict between arming teachers only touches the tip of the iceberg. What if we take away all guns? That would be a violation of second amendment rights. What if we promote gun education? There is no guarantee that will work. What if we introduce safe bullet proof rooms to schools? Then students in the Mountain View School district would be holed up into small rooms in terror for forty-five entire minutes waiting for the police force to arrive, and not all students may be inside. The questions and retorts are endless. Hopefully, the process of finding a solution is not. Mass school homicides hit hard and fast, and we need to find a solution in a similar manner, rapidly and surely.

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The student news site of Adrian Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, California
D is for Deterrent: Arming Teachers with Guns