Comment Writer Holly Pittaway presents the case against teachers being granted weapons in American schools
On Thursday morning, as I was walking around my university campus I received a news notification from the BBC announcing that President Trump was considering arming teachers with guns in order to prevent future school shootings. Just a few minutes before reading this I had been speaking to one of my lecturers in her office and the news got me thinking, what if teachers were armed with guns at my university?
The tone of that meeting would be dramatically changed, as I would nervously scan the office, wondering in what drawer the firearm might be hidden, and if that drawer was locked or easily accessible to anyone. A lecture might be all the more silent because of the presence of a rifle encased in glass on full display at the front of the room like a fire alarm button. Walking around university grounds on a sunny afternoon would be considerably less pleasant, as you would never know who amongst you might be armed with a weapon as they go from class to class. Luckily for us in the UK, this isn’t a reality, but for students in the US it soon could be thanks to a misguided President.
The proposal comes only a week following the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and while the word on everyone’s minds is ‘reform’, somehow, all the President can think about is increasing firearm availability. While the proposal won’t impact me personally, if it is put into effect, millions of other students, like me, will be in even more danger than they presently are.
Admittedly, I understand the logic behind Trump’s decision. American citizens have the right to bear arms and protect themselves and of course this code of protection should be extended to the classroom – but surely students would be safer if guns were taken out of the hands of potential perpetrators, not placed directly into them?
In my opinion, there are two main issues with the proposed policy. Firstly, if every teacher in every school in the United States is issued with a firearm, where do they keep said firearm? There would have to be at least one gun in every classroom, as, according to the logic of the POTUS, if a school shooting were to break out teachers would need immediate access in order to ‘protect’ their students. But what if, one day, a child were to get hold of that gun, either from purposefully searching or stumbling upon it accidentally, hurting themselves or even others? what if, one day, a child were to get hold of that gun, either from purposefully searching or stumbling upon it accidentally, hurting themselves or even others?What if an unstable student were to find the gun and use it to shoot themselves in the head? There is no safe place for a gun in a classroom.
The second issue is the individuals who the guns will be administered to. Most of us like to think of our teachers as kind, caring, and sometimes stern people, but the reality is that we cannot always trust them – you only have to turn on the news to hear about a case of individuals in positions of power committing acts of abuse or sexual violence against their subordinates. So, how will Trump ensure that the teachers he chooses to provide with a weapon can be trusted? What is to stop us from assuming that one day that teacher may not even turn the gun on those who he or she is sworn to protect?
A group of Florida High School students are already starting the process of change, but they are only a small voice amongst the 323 million strong US population, many of whom are still in favour of the use of guns in their country. To me, and I’m sure to many others, there is only one answer – gun reform. Until that happens in the US, no one can consider themselves to be ‘safe’.
Article By Holly Pittaway