Since 2012, there have been 239 school shootings nationwide, as reported by the New York Times. Shootings are becoming more of a problem, and the government is considering many alternatives to deal with this epidemic. One such alternative is arming teachers with firearms.
Students and teachers at Elkin High School have differing viewpoints on this subject. Angela Adams, Elkin Middle School science teacher, stated, “If someone wanted to break in [to the school], they could.” She also said, “If I had my concealed carry [for a firearm], I would feel a lot safer.”
On the other hand, Tonya Smith, the vocal arts instructor, said, “I would rather take a bullet for a student than put one in one.”
Two out of the three interviewed teachers stated they did not support being armed at school. Arming teachers could make some teachers comfortable in the classroom setting, but have the opposite effect on others. A dilemma raised by one teacher is not wanting to cause harm to another human being, but armed teachers would have to make life or death decisions with those weapons.
Lillie Sawyers, a junior at Elkin High School, said, “I support arming teachers as long as they are trained and checked.” However, a teacher who wishes to remain anonymous explained, “It doesn’t matter how armed or trained I may be, I could be overtaken by a large group.”
However, as more states consider this option, criteria for arming teachers could be made through the establishment of a committee that included school faculty, community members, and the local police department. The committee would determine training standards, firearm education for teachers, and provide scenarios as well as acceptable firearms allowed into the school. The committee would also meet quarterly or more frequently in order to ensure safety standards were being maintained.
It is still unknown as to whether arming teachers would help solve or worsen school shootings. Smith said, “I do not feel that arming an entire staff with guns is in our best interest.”
The alternative could be to do nothing differently, but that means nothing will change. All students interviewed said that they either completely trusted the teachers, or mostly trusted them to protect student lives.
Whether or not arming teachers is the solution, something needs to be done to fix the problem. According to Time magazine, Americans are becoming “numb” to school shootings, but school should be a safe place to learn and grow, not a place to die.
Clay Sebastian, Joseph Snow, Karrey Wood, and Jack Zamudio are members of Honors English I at Elkin High School.