In Arlington, gun rights advocates sought to persuade the school board to give licensed teachers and administrators the ability to carry concealed firearms in school but to no avail. The reasons behind allowing this potential privilege are concerns over the safety of the students against potential threats and also to deter these types of threats from materializing.
The school board dismissed the issue, but there is still the matter of whether school districts are doing the right thing by not allowing teachers and staff to arm themselves against potential threats.
The central premise behind this type of measure is one of deterrence and safety. Gun rights advocates argue that licensed teachers with a concealed firearm inside school have the ability to protect themselves and their students should a threat arise.
While this may sound reasonable and logical, it is far from being so. It only serves to give students and faculty a false sense of protection. Furthermore, it may actually be counterproductive toward instilling an atmosphere of learning, respect and safety, all of which are vital for education.
Rather than feeling safe and protected, the idea of armed teachers and staff has the potential to be, at the least, strongly disconcerting to the average student, and at worst downright terrifying. On the bright side, it may increase good behavior among students, though this good behavior would be more out of fear than respect for the rules.
We also need to consider whether we really want armed individuals teaching our students. What if an armed teacher becomes unhinged? With the background checks for legally obtaining firearms being widely criticized for being too easy, it stands to reason that it is a bad idea to allow teachers to carry guns.
As an actual deterrent for threats, it still would not make much of a difference. If an individual is unbalanced enough to shoot up a school, armed teachers likely will mean nothing to that person.
It also fails as a deterrent in that only licensed teachers and administrators will be carrying concealed firearms. Thus, shooters will still have a high chance of inflicting casualties.
Now, if the same armed student bursts into a classroom in which the teacher carries a gun, there seems to be two possibilities: the armed student gets shot by the teacher, who is acting in self-defense, or the student and teacher have a standoff until one either backs down or help arrives.
In the latter case, the question becomes how one calls for help when two people have guns and the other students are either in shock or too afraid to move for their cell phones to actually make the call.
It seems a security system may be more effective with a direct line to the administration or the police department. This way, when the dreaded armed student does come in, the teacher would simply have to press a button to call for help.
If this system wouldn’t work, schools should look into nonlethal deterrences such as stun guns, bean bag rounds or rubber bullets. These at least have the ability to potentially stop a crime without any deaths.
When two issues as heated and emotional as school shootings and gun control are open for debate, illogical solutions are often put forward, and many times are passed. That is precisely the case with this issue.
It will not be allowed by the Arlington School Board, and that is exactly the response we need so we can get back to thinking up practical solutions to these problems.
KC Aransen is a sophomore psychology major from Arlington.