Since the devastating Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14, there have been a lot of discussions and propositions on how to make schools safer. In fact, the Oklahoma House Public Safety Committee approved a bill with a 13-1 vote on Feb. 27 which allows Oklahoma school districts to arm teachers who go through a special training.
The bill will not require teachers to carry a weapon, but makes it an option for them. This bill was not only passed in Oklahoma, but also in South Dakota, Mississippi and Harrold, Texas. This bill could also be proposed in other states.
What if it were proposed in California? Seventy-two CHS students and faculty members were asked if they feel that arming teachers is a good way to protect students. Fifty-four of them, 75 percent, said no, while 17 said yes.
“I don’t agree with teachers being armed on campus to protect children,” senior Jesse Evans says. “To complete this task would require extensive physical and mental training to deem if the teacher is fully capable of protecting their students with firearms of their own.”
Evans speculates this would create repercussions, which might decrease safety levels even more.
“Having these weapons at school will only continue to perpetuate the spiral of violence that kids experience daily and will raise conflict associated with teachers and students, raising the chances of students coming to school with guns and raising the chances of deranged teachers using firearms for the wrong reasons,” Evans adds.
Junior Hugo Sandoval Guerrero agrees.
“I would say if there is any type of weapon on a school campus it would endanger the students more than help them,” Sandoval Guerrero says.
Senior Hernan Paz also agrees that it may be a dangerous tactic.
“I don’t think it be necessary for the teachers to have the guns in the first place because the odds of one of the school shootings is low,” Paz notes. “And also I think it would increase the crime rate at the schools because of more guns being around.”
Senior Hayden Wood says, “I think it has the potential to be a good idea, but it may lead to more violence. Teachers could lose it at one point.”
Carmel High assistant principal Tom Parry also feels this sort of legislation isn’t a good idea.
“I don’t think bringing a weapon gets to the root of the problem, and guns around kids is never a good idea,” Parry says. “My mom has been a first grade teacher for 40 years, and I just can’t picture her carrying a handgun in her drawer.”
Some CHS teachers feel that there are other ways of preventing violence that may be better and cheaper for the schools.
“Our job is to defend our students, and I appreciate that,” Health teacher Jeff Wright says, “but the teachers would have to go through training and psychological tests, and I don’t think that many would want to do all of that. Plus, I’m a trained marksman, and I wouldn’t even want to have to carry a weapon.”
Global Studies teacher Golden Anderson has a different idea.
“I think we should have private armed security,” Anderson says. “It would be interesting to see if it is cheaper to hire them, considering when we hire teachers the school district is paying their benefits. If we had the private security, the school district saves money because the employers of security pay for their benefits. I think that would be a lot cheaper than paying for teachers to get trained and go through the psychological examinations.”
Counselor Jennifer Goodbody has had experience similar to Anderson’s suggestion.
“I used to be at a school that had a resource officer and was a member of the police department trained to work on a school campus he built relationships with the kids,” Goodbody says. “Just having him on campus seemed to be a good prevention of gun violence. I would rather try that first.”
Guns in America will continue to be an issue for the foreseeable future, and how we address it as a nation and in the schools is anyone’s guess.