This year, on average, there has been one school shooting every week, and in the past decade, the United States alone has had a total of 288 school shootings. (Grabow & Rose).
Unfortunately, the number of cases are only rising. A school environment should be a place where individuals can learn, grow, and develop civic, emotional and cognitive skills. The responsibilities of a teacher are to teach, not to carry concealed firearms. Providing concealed firearms on school campuses would be a costly endeavor. The price of an average semi automatic pistol ranges from $200-$1,000 (“Semi Automatic Pistols”).
Money for schools should be spent on books, school events, dances, and school supplies for office staff and students. Or perhaps, our tax dollars could be used to help fund mental illness programs considering, nearly one in five U.S. adults lives with a mental illness (“Mental Illness”). This notable data reveals that a large amount of gun holders could be victims of mental illness, and it is our duty as citizens to ensure safety in our country and prevent these massacres from continuing.
On school campuses, gun safety training for faculty members would be a tedious task. Time should be spent developing curriculum to help students thrive and benefit in the future. Additionally, it is crucial that staff members have mental stability assessments. The amount of responsibility that is needed to carry a weapon in the classroom is a heavy burden and a task that is only fit for law enforcement professionals. School Resource Officers spend countless hours preparing for unexpected situations and have a passion to keep communities safe.
Mac Hardy, Operations Director for the National Association of School Resource Officers is a sworn police officer who works on a school campus. “When I first started, they used to call you kiddie cops but that was a misnomer,” said Hardy.
“Our job is so vital and important. Every day when you put on your uniform you know there are thousands of parents relying on you to work closely with that school administration and that community to keep that campus safe” (Corley).
As a student in high school, I feel safer in the hands on law enforcement than the staff members who have less experience under pressuring events. Resource officers knew going into their career that they might have to handle weapons, de-escalate situations, and encounter life and death situations. They are more likely to be properly trained, and know how to handle a serious situation, as well as a firearm.
There isn’t really a way to ensure that a teacher would be as educated and prepared as a resource officer. Educators and students alike oppose guns on campus.
According to an online poll, if permitted, 72.4 percent of teachers would not bring a firearm to school (Gates). In a poll involving students, 80 percent felt teachers with guns would not make them feel safer (Chambers). With this information, we can conclude that guns in classrooms is not the right answer.
It is time to take action and advocate for increased enforcement of armed security guards, tougher gun restrictions, and active emergency shooter drills to prepare campuses for the worst and enlighten communities about mental illnesses and help fund for programs that can save lives.