OPINION: Trump’s proposal to arm our educators is flawed

Teenagers call for gun reform in Washington, DC. (Courtesy: L. Shaull)

By Stephanie Chang, Staff–

On Feb. 22, Trump proposed arming teachers and giving bonuses to armed teachers in response to the Florida shooting. This solution is neither an effective nor a reasonable proposal.

First of all, it is not a teacher’s job to protect his or her students via arms. There are instances where teachers do feel the responsibility of protecting their students during mass shootings and it is, of course, an heroic action to be honored. Yet, these teachers are humans after all and have to keep it together for the sake of the students. Putting the job as an armed protector on teachers would put too big of a burden for them.

One does not become a teacher in order to protect students from mass shootings, but rather, to teach. According to the United States Department of labor, “high school teachers help prepare students for life after graduation. They teach academic lessons and various skills that students will need to attend college and to enter the job market.”

Trump’s proposal of arming teachers, making them first-line defenders, overstates the responsibilities of a teacher. Moreover, it does not make logical sense if an armed teacher receives bonuses because ultimately, a teachers job is to teach– not to be armed in case of a shooting. Instead, the job of protection via arms should still be left to law enforcement– those who specialize in the protection of others.  

Additionally, the goal should not be to have guns in case of a mass shooting, but to keep guns out of schools under any condition. Having guns in order to fight those who come into the school with guns would create a tense environment. If a shooting were to occur and teachers were armed, it would make the school a warzone. Prevention of these shootings should be the goal and main focus.

Not only would having armed teachers make the school environment more hostile, but having guns inside schools is too big of a risk, whether it is the misplacement of such arms or the increased access of guns for students in general. Even if the teachers choose to carry the arms on them, it may still cause trouble regarding accidents with the gun.

The cost of to implement such a program would also speak against Trump’s proposal. According to the Washington Post’s report regarding the estimate costs of arming teachers, the total price for the cheapest training and arms would be $251 million to arm 718,000 teachers, one-fifth of all the teachers in the U.S.. The amount of resources– time and money– to have a Trump’s proposed idea prove that it would be inefficient, as the resources could be used elsewhere or actually formulate a plan that would increase prevention of shootings.  

Trump also used the armed school sheriff during the shooting who did not do anything as evidence that there should be armed teachers inside schools. However, the armed school sheriff not doing anything counteracts his proposal. If the sheriff was armed and failed to protect students, how are armed teachers expected to do so?

It is no doubt that the proposed solution of having armed teachers within school grounds as first-line defender during mass shootings in order to protect students is a flawed one. Instead, stricter gun laws need to be enforced to prevent arms from appearing on school grounds in order to ensure the safety of our generations.

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