Presidential NRA puppet Donald Trump, echoing NRA talking points, has called for arming teachers. He says it will dissuade shooters from attacking gun-free zone schools. He says that having teachers and janitors armed will cut the time it takes to respond, since it takes six or seven minutes for first responders to arrive.
Here are some reasons its a bad, stupid, dangerous, democracy threatening idea.
1-Arming teachers, putting children into a militarized environment desensitizes them to living in an armed, police state.
2-AR-15 rounds go through body armor. Pistol bullets do not. Shooters will know that. They'll wear body armor and not care if teachers or guards do.
3-Even people who are certified in using guns are not trained to function in extreme danger situations. A gun-owning school principal wrote, in EdWeek,
"How much training do swat teams, police officers, or security guards undergo before they are ready to handle these dangerous encounters? How exactly can we ready educators in a shortened time frame? People who become public defenders know what they're getting themselves into. Educators didn't (and don't) sign up for that line of work.
This approach would require us to be placing guns in schools now--guns that could easily be used inappropriately. Don't for a minute think that a secured gun, stored in a school, would be inaccessible. For a gun to be available for defense, it needs to be accessible. That means it would be accessible to more than just the principal or teacher. This will become an even greater concern should more states pass gun laws that allow people with valid pistol permits to also carry them in schools."
4-There were armed guards at Parkland. They didn't help. It's reasonable to assume that armed guards will be more effective than armed teachers. i.e., no help either way.
5-Arming people in schools creates an extreme authoritarian situation that threatens black students in particular. An Atlantic article observes:
But the movement for hardening isn't just impractical or lacking in evidentiary support; it's also a dystopian stroke of authoritarianism that runs deeply counter to the ideas embodied in the Constitution. Increasingly militarized school resource officers don't just passively wait for mass shootings; they have daily encounters with students that appear to be increasing in frequency. Brutality is endemic. Mother Joneschronicled 28 serious student injuries and one death from 2010 to 2015 in such encounters. The brunt of those brutal incidents and arrests falls on black students, and high-profile incidents of officers kicking students, choking them, handcuffing third-graders, and slamming students to the ground are all too common."
6- Huffpost writer argues, "Kids get their hands on most everything.
"Ask your mother. Better yet, recall how you knew where she hid the Christmas presents. Or where your father kept his gun, if he had one. My mother hid the presents in a nook at the top of the attic stairs. My father kept his unloaded shotgun in the right corner at the back of his clothes closet. The ammunition was in an orange box on a shelf in the same closet.
In an under-publicized study that appeared in the journal Pediatrics in 2001, Geoffrey Jackman and a group of his associates asked twenty-nine groups of two to three boys, most of whom were around ten-years-old, to wait for fifteen minutes in a room with a one-way mirror. Two water pistols and an actual .380 caliber handgun were partially concealed in various locations in the room. The handgun was rigged to make the sound of discharge when the trigger was pulled with sufficient force.
Forty-eight out the sixty-four boys found the handgun. Thirty boys handled the gun. Sixteen boys pulled the trigger. Approximately half of the boys who found the gun thought it was a toy, or were unsure if it was real. 90% of the boys who handled the gun or pulled the trigger had previously received some sort of gun safety education.
Kids get their hands on guns, and they know how to use them. The most up-to-date FBI homicide data indicate that of the 1,448 children who died as a result of gun violence in 2010, 165 of those deaths were at the hands of other children."
7- Under trained school staffers and teachers could easily panic and actually cause death, as this NEA article suggests.
"Suggesting that by providing staff with 8, 16, 40, or even 60 hours of firearms training on firing, handling, and holstering a gun somehow makes a non-law enforcement officer suddenly qualified to provide public safety services is a high-risk to the safety of students, teachers, and other school staff," said Ken Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services.
The potential for an accident or a misjudgment was an overriding concern at a recent hearing in northern Idaho where a local school board is considering a measure to arm school staff. Social Studies teacher Tyler Haynes told the board that one bad decision or impulse by a member of the staff could easily result in an unnecessary injury or death.
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