In response to the recent shooting in Parkland that claimed 17 innocent lives, President Donald Trump fired a series of tweets Thursday morning demanding that we arm our teachers with guns to prevent mass school shootings in the future. While many of his supporters found the idea to be an effective strategy to prevent the deaths of students, several teachers themselves spoke out against the idea, saying they wouldn’t be comfortable wielding a firearm in the classroom.
In Massachusetts — a liberal state that imposes heavy restrictions on guns — the idea was met with resistance from many people including government officials and legislators. A public statement released by Boston Public Schools superintendent Tommy Chang said “The mere thought that teachers should be armed in order to ward off violence is utterly illogical and will only result in making our students and teachers less safe.” Mayor Martin Walsh and Gov. Charlie Baker also came forward and expressed similar sentiments about Trump’s proposal, rejecting the idea that teachers should be trained and equipped with guns.
The idea doesn’t make sense for several reasons, but primarily for the reason that imposing such a measure would not result in any progress on the issue of gun violence in America. In essence, the idea feeds into the “treat fire with fire” mentality. Throwing more guns at a situation that is already infested with violence will not result in any progress as far as reducing gun-related deaths. Such a measure perpetuates reactionary solutions to the problem of gun violence, not preventive ones, which is something we so desperately need.
First and foremost, the ability to use and carry a weapon is not a part of a teacher’s job description. Teachers hold one of the most noble professions, whose duty is to educate the next generation of leaders and change-makers of our country. It’s not their job to know how to carry and operate a weapon. They should be focused on teaching their students — not undergoing training for an unproductive way to prevent gun violence. It’s rather counterintuitive that the way to end gun violence is to equip more people with guns.
Given that Massachusetts is a leader in restricting gun-related violence, it is important that our leaders still felt the need to be vocal about their thoughts on the issue of arming teachers. Rather than standing by passively, Boston officials made it clear that a measure like this would not be approved in our city. By actively taking a stand against the idea, Massachusetts is sending a message to other states, specifically ones with conservative legislative bodies who might find this idea acceptable. Hopefully, the spirit of being opposed to the idea will have an effect on these states. Although it might not change conservative lawmakers’ mentalities entirely, they might be compelled to rethink their stance.
If such an idea was actually instituted into our public schools, that would be a scary reality in America. And certainly not one that is true to this country’s character. The Second Amendment grants the right for “a well regulated Militia,” but our forefathers certainly did not envision our teachers having guns in the classroom as a right protected by this amendment. Surely, we can agree that teachers possessing firearms in the classroom would be terrifying for teachers and students alike.
While the weapon itself may be stowed away and locked in a safe place, there are several potential instances in which having a gun in the classroom may lead to further instances of violence. A trained teacher who may not be extremely qualified to shoot a gun could end up hurting a student instead. The chance a student in the classroom could get their hands on a gun rises exponentially if they’re readily available to them. And at the very least, it would normalize gun cultures in our schools, which is certainly not the purpose of education. Guns and education do not belong together. They shouldn’t be in our classrooms and definitely not in the hands of our teachers.