Should We Arm Teachers? A Teacher’s Thoughts

empty classroom discussion should we arm teachers

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I started teaching about a year after Columbine, the first in a long list of school shootings. I went to high school in the same district as Marjorie Stoneman Douglas aka Parkland. My high school had the same demographics as Parkland. So when Parkland happened it hit even closer to home. 

I teach high school at a very small, rural, Title 1 (poor) school. Guns are a huge part of the culture. The day before the Uvalde shooting, one of my students asked me if I owned a gun. I told him no because where I am from guns are used to kill people. He was utterly shocked at this. He could not imagine life without his guns. Why? Because he hunts. 

Guns at schools are becoming the norm. My child had an incident at his school about 2 weeks ago. A student brought a loaded gun to school. He took his mother’s gun without her knowledge. Thank goodness the gun was confiscated without incident. The student was in the 8th grade. We can sit here and talk about how the mother should have had the gun locked up and whatever else but the point…a CHILD brought a gun to school.

I have heard every argument in the book as to whether we should arm teachers or not. My district contemplated this for real after Parkland. My female friend was asked to be one of these teachers. She told them no and she owns guns and has her concealed carry.

I have heard every argument in the book about whether we should have more security or not. My school has had a school resource officer on campus the entire time I have been a teacher. Do I think that his presence will deter someone who is desperate? Not in the slightest.

I am astounded that the people in charge are not doing anything about this epidemic. And yes it is an epidemic in the United States. I am not saying that we should do away with guns. I am saying that it is beyond time to make policy changes to make guns harder to get hold of and keep out of the hands of the wrong people. Please spare me your arguments about the bad guys having guns and not following the rules. The police in Uvalde had guns and still did not act. I am an advocate for background checks, classes, and licensing. I am an advocate for restricting the types of guns that can be sold. Let’s face it, who needs an AK-15? This is a gun that was made to kill people, not deer.

As we know, not all shootings occur in schools. Nobody should be afraid to go to the grocery store or church because they may be the next victim of a mass shooting. It is time for our lawmakers to really act. I am tired of thoughts and prayers. Thoughts and prayers have never kept an incident from happening. Policy and change are what keeps things like this from happening.

Cindy Putnam is a high school teacher. She just completed her 22nd year teaching in Florida.

Arming teachers is a subject that's been discussed a lot lately. But how do the teachers feel? Here is one teacher's thoughts.
Arming teachers is a subject that's been discussed a lot lately. But how do the teachers feel? Here is one teacher's thoughts.

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  1. I teach and truthfully, there are some students who could overpower me. If they knew teachers were armed, what if they had bad intent? On the other hand…. I honestly just don’t know. It’s half a dozen of one and half a dozen of another. The odds of a gun coming to school are not minimal like they were, but if every teacher is armed, every class now has a gun no matter what. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that either, but something has to be done. Screen bags like an airport. Have the entryways have metal detectors, or something. That doesn’t protect areas where you can jump a fence and be on campus (by the playground, basketball courts, etc). Every place has a weak point for entry. It’s sad we have to even have this discussion. Worse than sad.

  2. It has more impact knowing that these thoughts are from a teacher who is understandably in fear of her own welfare in view of the recent school shooting in Texas. Personally, I’m all for arming teachers.

  3. There are definitely a lot of things that are going to have to change. It makes me sad that this has become so prevalent. I work in a school and we are very strict about locked doors and IDs, so I feel generally safe in our district.

  4. It’s a very scary world we live in. It’s so hard to know what the right thing is to do, but something DOES need to change.

  5. Honestly, I am glad guns are not the norm here. I would worry for my children and myself when going out anywhere.

  6. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on a subject, especially with personal experience as a teacher. I don’t know what the right answer is or if there is just one answer, but I know something needs to be done to help us avoid these senseless tragedies in the future.

  7. No way. That’s not their job. It’s a shame this even has to be a discussion. There needs to be tougher gun laws. There’s a reason why shootings happen more often in the US.

  8. We don’t need armed teachers, we need gun laws that make sense. NO right is without its limitations, and that should hold true for the right to bear arms, as well. The NRA has so consumed the GOP that they will let literally anything happen in order to keep their power. It’s sickening.

  9. We need a change in this field for sure. Fear is not a pleasant feeling and in a certain way it touches our freedom.

  10. Arming poor underpaid teachers is so sick. Let’s add one more thing to already stretched thin teachers. That’s not the answer! Assault riffles made for the army that are as easy to get as a pack of gun is the problem.