Traditionally thought of as gun-free zones, some schools are now allowing teachers to carry guns in classrooms— an effort that is meant to increase school safety, particularly when it comes to stopping school shootings. But this move is sparking controversy nationwide, as many opponents question whether arming teachers with guns would actually make schools safer.
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What are the main arguments for allowing teachers to carry guns at school?
Some arguments in favor of arming teachers include that if teachers had guns, they would actually be able to defend against an attack — potentially minimizing deaths. Supporters often point to instances where armed bystanders have stopped shootings in other places. Additionally, arming teachers could act as a deterrent— if potential shooters knew teachers were armed, they may be less likely to carry out an attack.
What are the main arguments against allowing teachers to carry guns at school?
Many opponents worry that there’s too much potential for something to go wrong if you allow teachers to carry guns. What happens if a student gets ahold of a teacher’s gun, or if they accidentally shoot an innocent bystander. There’s also concern that a teacher could misinterpret a student’s actions and shoot at someone unnecessarily, and this is especially a concern for students of color— where research shows they are disproportionately disciplined more than white students. Could implicit racial bias lead to a teacher unnecessarily shooting at a student of color? There’s also concern that training and arming teachers is expensive and could take funding away from other academic or school safety resources.
Should Teachers Carry Guns? The Debate, Explained (EdWeek) https://www.edweek.org/ew/issues/arming-teachers.html
Arming Schoolteachers: What Do We Know? Where Do We Go From Here? (American Journal of Public Health) https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/full/10.2105/AJPH.2018.304464
School shootings are extraordinarily rare. Why is fear of them driving policy? (Washington Post) https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/school-shootings-are-extraordinarily-rare-why-is-fear-of-them-driving-policy/2018/03/08/f4ead9f2-2247-11e8-94da-ebf9d112159c_story.html
10 years. 180 school shootings. 356 victims. (CNN) https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2019/07/us/ten-years-of-school-shootings-trnd/
Should teachers carry guns? In many rural school districts, they already are. (Pacific Standard) https://psmag.com/education/should-teachers-carry-guns-in-many-rural-school-districts-they-already-are
Most U.S. Teachers Oppose Carrying Guns in Schools (Gallup) https://news.gallup.com/poll/229808/teachers-oppose-carrying-guns-schools.aspx
U.S. Voters Oppose Steel, Aluminum Tariffs, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Voters Oppose Armed Teachers, Back Armed Security 6-1 (Quinnipiac University Poll) https://poll.qu.edu/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=2525
State and Local Law Enforcement Training Academies, 2013 (U.S. DOJ Bureau of Justice Statistics) https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/slleta13.pdf
Gun-trained teacher accidentally discharges firearm in Calif. classroom, injuring student (Washington Post) https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/03/14/teacher-accidentally-discharges-firearm-in-calif-classroom-he-was-trained-in-gun-use/
Black Students ‘Face Racial Bias’ In School Discipline (Forbes)
After Ferguson, black men still face the highest risk of being killed by police (PBS NewsHour) https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/after-ferguson-black-men-and-boys-still-face-the-highest-risk-of-being-killed-by-police
A History of Shootings at Military Installations in the U.S. (NBC 6 South Florida) https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/national-international/A-History-of-Shootings-at-Military-Installations-in-the-US-223933651.html