Americans ask: do teachers need guns in the classroom?

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Americans ask: do teachers need guns in the classroom?




Meredith Prud'homme

Just turn on the television or listen to the radio and you are bound to hear dozens of news stories pertaining to gun violence. With the dangerous threats of the modern world come a need for self defense across demographic lines.

However, each person chooses to defend themselves in different ways. For a 70-year-old grandmother from Chicago, it meant using her husband’s .32 pistol to protect herself during a home invasion.

Non-lethal methods also prove effective, such as with a 17-year-old girl in New York, who successfully pepper sprayed her attacker and prevented a date rape from taking place.

But, after recent mass shootings, the conversation surrounding self defense now centers on guns in school and public places as a potential solution for increased safety.

Overall, according to CNN, 70 percent now say they back stricter gun laws, up from 52 percent who said so in an October poll not long after a mass shooting in Las Vegas killed 58 people.

According to Samuel Franco, a self defense specialist, the meaning of self-defense varies for the individual. For some, it means buying a high-tech alarm system in hopes of preventing a home invasion. For others, it means buying a gun. The unfortunate truth is that the question of personal protection remains complicated.

More specifically, the debate focuses on whether teachers should carry guns or hide with their students; whether schools should invest in more high-tech security devices such as door jammers, or invest more resources into crisis teams that could identify and intervene with troubled students.

Sophomore Abbey Reisler of Ocean believes that guns should strictly stay with law enforcement.

I believe only the police should be carrying guns in public places. It is absolutely not appropriate for teachers to be armed while on school grounds,” Reisler said.

According to the New York Times, President Trump made a statement regarding teachers with guns.

“You give them a little bit of a bonus, so practically for free, you have now made the school into a hardened target,” Trump said.

The president estimated that 10 percent to 40 percent of school employees would be qualified to handle a weapon — he offered no data for the claim — and said he would devote federal money to training them.

When it comes to these questions, no one seems to have a definite answer.

Most law enforcement experts argue that teachers should not carry guns since accidents are a concern, according to the New York Times. Guns can fall out of holsters, be taken from the teacher or accidentally discharge.

“You don’t want to have a gun that’s available to a student or another worker who may have mental health issues,” said Maureen S. Rush, vice president for public safety and superintendent of the police department at the University of Pennsylvania.

However, proponents such as Dave Workman, the senior editor of The Gun Mag and communications director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, fights that teachers bearing guns is a solution. He argues that arming guards or teachers could act as a deterrent to prevent individuals from drawing a weapon in the first place.

Fitness teacher Ginny Clevenger believes that guns should stay out of school.

“[As a teacher,] I would never raise a gun at a human being. The only guns I ever want to see in school are biceps,” Clevenger said.

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