Arming Teachers (2)





Arming Teachers

The debate on whether teachers should carry guns began when President Trump hosted guests to the white house for a listening session after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 people dead (Sanchez). The act was conducted by a teenager and a former student at the school, Nikolas Cruz (ITV News). During this meeting, President Trump proposed the issuance of firearms to teachers as a response mechanism to future mass shootings in school environments. He followed up these sentiments with a tweet a day after the listening session. Trump saw giving teachers/coaches guns as a way of deterring a potential hate crime.

Those in support of Trump’s ideas were mostly gun supporters or the so-called pro-gun group mostly made up of Republicans, although not all Republicans were of this idea. Those enthusiastically against gun legislation suggest that a number of teachers should be armed with concealed weapons. The idea of having armed teachers goes like if a shooter knows that teachers in a targeted school carry weapons and will retaliate, then they may decide against executing their plan. In case they decide to go forward with it, a teacher wielding weapons will be able to hold them before security forces arrive at the scene. This paper presents counter-arguments to this view supported by possible dire consequences of the move.

Arming teachers across the nation will mean a huge budget allocation, while most districts are not able to offer educators with enough resources to support their students. In some places, schools have no resources to keep the heat on during winter. A good example is the Washington District public school system, which faces a budget deficit that amounts to $23 million. Most of this deficit the District has attributed to increased personnel costs and thus resolved to freeze further hiring and have stopped employee travel and training as well. Under district law, the Washington School District is not allowed to carry the day from this fiscal year to the next. As a result, the authority must first seek the finances to cover this deficit, which makes it impossible to add cost, especially gun training. It would be so unrealistic to imagine the government being able to arms teachers all across the nation, and even if it happens, the expense is unimaginable.

It is also obvious that American teachers have more than enough on their plates already since the amount of work they handle goes beyond giving lectures and assigning homework, which does not remotely match their pay. Teachers handle all the paperwork, do the grading, and are still expected to attend any number of meetings (staff, IEP meetings, as well as parent-teacher conferences). Besides teaching, they are managing their classes, after which they have phone calls after hours with parents and torturing students. Teachers never catch a break, which makes it entirely insensible to require them to add such a demanding task to this unending list.

An article by an organization named time termed “13 Stories of Life on a Teacher’s Salary” perfectly brings the notion of the burden of being a teacher against inadequate compensation into perspective. The first story is that of one Hope Brown, who says that people do not understand what it takes to make a classroom work (Reilley). She mentions that she has to go out of her way to purchase classroom necessities for her class, such as copy paper. Moreover, because of the small salary she receives, Mrs. Brown has another job besides school where she works part-time to make an extra $9 an hour. She goes on to mention other stresses she goes through, such as having to fake being sick because she cannot afford to get to work that day due to constrained resources where she had no means to get to work, including gas. Now imagine requiring such a person battling all these tresses a handle gun? This is not meant to imply that such a person is not mentally fit to carry a weapon. But how huge of a burden is it to add the protection of the lives of children on her shoulders? Does she really have to carry the gun around all day at work all year round? Where would she put it? Her purse? What time would it take for her to draw it?

What about black teachers? Following the history of the country on their insecurity against black people, it would mean black teachers would face a unique outcome. Many Twitter users responded to Trump’s tweet by recalling an incident that involved one Philando Castile, a school worker who had the license to carry a firearm. It happened that the police pulled him over, and Castile made it clear that he legally owned the firearm in his car. Although he adhered to every possible rule and going by every conceivable measure to guarantee this was clear to the officer, he was fatally shot.

Another even closer story was that of Emantic Bradford, which fueled the question whether there is anything like a “good guy with a gun when it comes to black people.” On Thanksgiving night, in 2018, a shooter opened fire at innocent citizens going about their business at the Riverchase Galleria Mall in Hoover, Alabama (Johnson). When the police responded, they shot dead a different man by the name Emantic Bradford an Army veteran who was licensed to carry a gun and was protecting his fellow citizens from the shooter. This tragedy highlights the American problem where innocent black men who are legally armed are killed at the hands of law enforcers at a time when gun-rights activists and the President are proposing that “good guys with guns” is the solution to mass shootings. This proves that the idea of a black person yielding a gun could prove fatal, and black gun owners are questioning whether “intervening while black” is too dangerous (Moore). What would be the scenario when law enforcement arrives at a school shooting and identifies a black person with a gun, it is most likely for them to assume they pose a threat.

There is also no guarantee that an armed educator would succeed in stopping an active shooter. There is sufficient evidence indicating that people bearing weapons cannot always prevent gun violence. A shooting at a concert in Los Angeles that left 58 people dead had a significant number of revelers who had guns, but they were not able to stop the shooter from gunning down this massive number in a matter of minutes (Chuck & Siemaszko). Teachers who are ordinary people and have never found themselves in active combat may freeze or go into shock in case of a shooting.

There is also no logic in training teachers to carrying weapons. According to Adam Best, the CEO of States of Blue, the math behind training and arming 20% of the teachers like Trump suggested is bonkers (Lahittou). Out of a population of 3.6 million teachers in public schools across America, Trump proposes to train at least 720,000. Besides the budget being hefty training, such a huge number would be a challenge. Again, police officers who receive more thorough training to handle weapons regularly fire at the wrong person or even miss.

Unless it’s okay to sacrifice teachers, arming them means they are the obvious first target. The possibility of knowing if a school shooter will be deterred with the knowledge of armed teachers is improbable. However, if the shooter still proceeds to attack, they would logically target the teachers first.

Without gun control, the security of schools has become a much more difficult task. Although there is an existing plausibility in arming teachers to some people. The logistical reality and the lack of evidence to predict the viability of the move have made many to oppose the move strongly. Such a move requires huge budget investments while school districts cannot be able to cater to their primary mandate, which is to educate children owing to restrained finances. In addition, the American public school teacher is so overwhelmed with their duty as a teacher that adding a responsibility in the magnitude of wielding a gun very unrealistic and inconsiderate. Using a gun has been quite a huge task for law enforcement officials who have undergone thorough to the extent that they make mistakes at times. This means that requiring a teacher to assume a similar responsibility is ill-informed. Statistics also indicate that minority teachers will not be comfortable wielding guns even if it is in a situation where they are helping considering the response. With all these counter-arguments, the idea of having guns in the school environment as a solution to mass shootings is misplaced.

Works Cited

Chuck, E., and C. Siemaszko. “‘Colossally Stupid Idea’: Trump’s Plan to Arm Teachers Widely Panned by Experts.” NBC News, 23 Feb. 2018, Accessed 15 Nov. 2019.

ITV News. “Florida shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz ‘confesses’ as lawyer says he is broken by attack | ITV News.” YouTube, 15 Feb. 2018,

Johnson, P. “Is it safe for a black man to be the ‘good guy with a gun??” The Christian Science Monitor, 30 Nov. 2018,

Lahittou, J. “6 Reasons We Shouldn’t Arm Teachers, According To These Thoughtful (And Scathing) Tweets.” Bustle, 22 Feb. 2018,

Moore, L. “‘I Am the ‘Good Guy With a Gun??: Black Gun Owners Reject Stereotypes, Demand Respect.” New York Times, 15 Dec. 2018,

Reilley, K. “Read 13 Stories of Life on a Teacher’s Salary.” Time, 13 Sept. 2018,

Sanchez, R. “Inside the Florida School Massacre, Moment by Moment.” CNN, 18 Feb. 2018, Accessed 15 Nov. 2019.