Audrey Bowers is a junior English education major and writes "Adult-ish" for The Daily News. Her views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Audrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The shooting at Parkland has left this nation devastated. As a country, we have debated what actions should be taken in order to prevent gun violence in the future. One proposed solution happens to be arming teachers with guns, providing them training in case of a school shooting.
This notion is problematic because it doesn’t consider the responsibility already placed upon the shoulders of teachers. What this so-called solution also fails to recognize is the amount of power it gives to teachers and the further risk to students, teachers and faculty to schools that could be created by arming teachers with guns. As a junior English education major, arming teachers with guns doesn’t seem like a solution to me. Rather, it would only create further issues in schools.
As a student, I was usually cautious around my teachers because I knew they had the power to get me in trouble if I did something wrong or if I got on their “bad side.” Something I remember distinctly is one of my teachers flipping over my desk because it was messy; I don’t believe I would have trusted this man with a firearm. I cannot imagine how fearful I would have been if I had known my teachers were in fact armed with guns, since I wasn’t raised around them and because of the many gun-related incidents, injuries and deaths I remember seeing on the news while growing up.
Arming teachers wouldn’t help the larger gun control issue at hand. The issue isn’t solely about school shootings, it’s also about the lack of gun control and mental health awareness, as well as the harmful and invading presence of toxic masculinity in our society. Since this issue is so complex and there are so many factors that have led to its persistence in our culture, there is not an easy, quick fix.
I, as well as many other teachers, believe that passing stricter gun laws and providing teachers and students with what they really need is a better start than simply arming classroom teachers. A movement that I can get behind is #ArmMeWith, a movement created by and sustained by teachers through social media, which focuses on things (other than guns) teachers should be armed with. Most teachers do not want to bring a gun into their classroom. This makes sense because accidents and violent incidents can happen, whether it be the fault of the teacher, student or other individual.
It’s unfair to place such a responsibility upon the shoulders of teachers when they are already underpaid for the many roles they are already expected to play. A Joe Heller cartoon sums it up well, the hands of teachers are simply too full with the expectations our culture demands them to meet.
There are many better solutions that are likely to be more effective in the long run. One thing that could help is paying teachers a decent wage and providing them with needed supplies. Allowing teachers to spend less time preparing their students for standardized tests would help students and teachers alike because they wouldn’t feel as pressured to perform. Smaller class sizes would enable teachers to give each and every student as much time, energy, respect and care as possible.
Besides passionate teachers, schools are also in desperate need of school psychologists, social workers and health care providers. Preventing school shootings is something no individual could ever do on their own. It takes a collective society demanding a better world for the next generation.