Students and Teachers React to Arming Teachers


Picture by The Nation

By Violet Mbela, Staff Writer

President Donald Trump proclaimed that the proposition of arming teachers is being very strongly considered by lawmakers across America in response to yet another school shooting.

In this very real future, Donald Trump stated, “[Teachers] could end the attack very quickly.” He continued to justify the idea by explaining, “This would be obviously only for people who were very adept at handling a gun. It’s called ‘concealed carry’, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They’d go for special training, and they would be there, and you would no longer have a gun-free zone.”

Geometry teacher Mr. Parkinson discussed the hypothetical scenario of administration allowing teachers to be armed in a “concealed carry” situation: “If my boss makes carrying a gun a job requirement, then sure, I would do it. I would be more comfortable with a stick or even a sword, but if they provide the funds and the training, I would do it.”

When asked if he, as a civilian, believes that those outside of the military or law enforcement, such as teachers, should have access to military-grade weapons such as an AR-15, he responded by saying, “It is common sense that normal people should not be allowed to have the same access to weapons as a member of the military, but do you consider that criminals don’t follow the rules? I like to make my boss happy. If he says ‘jump’, I say ‘how high’.”

Mr. Parkinson has a wooden staff in one corner of his classroom that he could use to defend himself and students in an emergency, and he reiterated that he would be more comfortable sticking with it than a loaded gun.

“Non-lethal weapons are less effective, sure, but they suffice. A wooden stick can do serious harm, but it is mainly used to incapacitate someone. I was taught that if you aim a gun at something or someone, it is used to kill.”

Sophia Merrill, a member of the upcoming sophomore ASB class expressed her concerns with the possibility of her own teachers being armed, and how it would make her feel: “I would feel a sense of anxiousness and some form of insecurity due to the fact that we don’t really know our teachers that well, and when it comes to home life, they could be struggling with personal issues. I would not feel safe. Even though I fully trust most of my teachers, I would not want my teacher to be armed with a gun. If we are going to arm teachers, it shouldn’t be with such a dangerous weapon.”

If it were absolutely necessary, she offered alternative solutions for what we can arm teachers with: “Simple resources such as a baseball bat or a PVC pipe. Things that are easy to hide and easy to access.”

An example of what teachers can use non-lethally in an emergency situation is best seen in our most recent lockdown drill. In Mr. Forte’s classroom, he showed students that if the need for self-defense arose, he could protect his students with the broken leg of one of the desks in the room. Doing so would not require training nor constant vigilance. On top of that, a non-lethal weapon is a better option for students who are frightened by the thought of an active shooter. They do not need to be locked in a dark room with another armed civilian.

Freshman Leilani Supernak aired an opposite sentiment: “I would feel safer if a teacher had a gun because they could try and secure their class at all costs. But, if a teacher is dangerous, then of course not. I would trust a teacher as long as they were taught how to use a gun without hurting students.” When asked for her thoughts on alternate defensive tools, she responded, “I believe that the safest option would be to give teachers some type of device that would stun rather than seriously injure or possibly kill.”

Sabella Bautista also pointed out her main worry: that a teacher could kill or seriously injure a student- whether it be accidental or in a fit of rage.

She said, “I don’t know how safe I would feel about that because if it starts as a new thing, teachers may be really on edge about it. They might accidentally shoot someone. If a kid is running into class and pulls something out of their bag, a teacher might jump and shoot them or something. If an armed teacher thinks they see something in your bag that’s not in your bag, they can shoot you!”

Whether or not arming teachers has a very high likelihood of happening, there seems to already be quite a bit of opposition from both the staff and the student body. Fear doesn’t belong in a classroom, and neither does violence; bringing weapons into a classroom setting could cause both. If the president would like to push to make such a thing happen, then so be it. Students are letting their voices be heard. From marches to walk-outs, they are working towards a change in direction.