Arming Teachers? A Response from a Teacher

For nearly 20 years I have been an elementary school teacher.

I would carry a concealed gun in school.

No one really knows how they’ll react to a shooting. A school resource officer failed to enter the Florida school, and is now without a job. An official with the NEA was on NPR’s Morning Edition telling a story of a fully trained police officer who dropped a gun and reentered a dangerous situation pointing a finger like a make-believe gun.

In case of a school shooting, I’d want a gun. I’d want the skill to use it, and I’d pray for the courage to act in the best way possible. I fear several things.

I fear shooting an innocent student accidentally. I fear being shot by first responders. I fear being perceived as a threat by students who misinterpret the presence of a handgun strapped to my ankle. I fear looking into the eyes of a child pointing a gun at other children. I fear being too late. I fear being a coward.

I fear most of all children dying and me being unable to take meaningful action.


I want to address some of the nonsense surrounding this issue. Becky Pringle, vice president of the National Education Association said this morning on Morning Edition that students do not want their teachers to be armed.  Let me suggest that we never allow adolescents to choose the strategy by which they are protected. Children want to be safe. Or in this case, safer.

She also said her membership overwhelmingly rejects the idea of carrying a gun.  No one suggests arming every teacher.

As far as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students, I am sorry that the adults let them down. Discipline policies, gun policies as they relate to troubled teens and even the failure of video surveillance policies. Adults let them down.

Adults have put these teenagers in an obscene public drama. The CNN town hall, with shouting and abuse toward invited guests, the marches demanding action…all of these staged events set these particular grieving students toward increased emotional difficulties. Adults have weaponized these students to pursue anti-gun policies. Please don’t say the teens did all this on their own. Adults are behind the cameras and in charge of the news media.

When these children do not get exactly what they want – and we all know that is the direction we are heading – I predict they will not recover well. Instead of finding a way to grieve and recover, they are planning their next event, spurred on by willing media.

And once again, the adults are failing them.

Update: The Recovering Legalist has some similar thoughts.

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3 Responses to Arming Teachers? A Response from a Teacher

  1. I have actually been avoiding doing much writing as of recent. There is literally more to write about than I can keep up with. It’s kinda overwhelming. But, as I sit here, seeing that my schedule has just freed up a bit, I might go back and simply let my unedited thoughts regarding school shootings and guns in schools just hang out. Thanks for your service to our children, Dave. We need good teachers more than ever before.


  2. My thoughts have always been that the media has been taking advantage of the grief of these students to push a narrative. The CNN Town Hall was nothing more than an activist show designed to create reality TV in support of a activist narrative rather than actually address the failures of government.

    At some point, these kids may realize they’ve been played, but not before the damage has been done.

    As for arming teachers, I’m all for allowing teachers who want to be armed in school to be allowed to do so, and the state should offer training resources to help teachers understand what to do. Wouldn’t hurt to have a responsible police agency work with the schools to help work out some of the issues raised in this article because communications, planning and training can be extremely effective in reducing the potential dangers.

    Yes, there will always be “problems” but no plan or policy is perfect. If it were, kids under 18 would never get guns, and we’d have no criminals. All we’re doing is giving teachers that want to protect their kids a fighting chance to do so since it’s clear our own government routinely fails us.


  3. onwyrdsdream says:

    My favorite hammer is economics, if we’re talking about the value of a student’s life, normally the order of people who value it, most to least, would be the students themselves, the parents, other students, the teachers, the administration, the “resource officer”, strangers.

    The higher on the scale you are in valuing, the more you’ll risk to keep them safe. Now, anyone among them can have fear override their willingness to protect, and any among them can have a strong sense of duty or heroism. Your would not want students at most grade levels armed, and the parents aren’t at the schools, so it falls to the teachers as the last line of defense for their charges. The incentives for the teachers to step up are strongest. They’re there. If there is a shooter going to their classrooms, they are also potentially victims. If they aren’t even allowed to protect themselves, if they live or not is entirely in other’s hands. That is not something you should ask of a person when you can’t control external risks.

    Economics is ultimately looking at the incentives for and against an action. If your goal is to kill a lot of people, you don’t want the risk of being captured or killed before you’ve shot 3 times. Motive, means, and opportunity. Making an unwelcoming environment reduces opportunity, which reduces incentive. Likewise if you want to protect students, the person you want to do so is most qualified if they have a personal investment in the students. Your resource officer, besides being trained, should also be a parent. Your teachers shouldn’t be required to be armed, but damned if they shouldn’t be able to be. Besides themselves, who are too young, parents, who aren’t there, and students, who are too young, there is no one better suited given the incentives.

    This isn’t to say that professionals shouldn’t be employed. I’m just kinda worried the professionals they’d employ would end up being selected using whatever criteria they use when they pick out bus drivers and cafeteria staff. No offense to the professionals of these fields, but honestly I pretty much never enjoyed eating at a school, and I graduated long before Obama struck.


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