Point Counter Point

Should teachers be armed in school?

Rory Galbraith and Carys Eynon

Rory Galbraith

Mass shootings have become inevitable in America. One of the major targets for shooters is public schools. In this reality, there is an uneasy feeling when you are learning about the latest school shooting with breaking news headlines and posts of mourning and grief on social media. Preventative action like anonymous tip lines are a part of the solution, but in an actual emergency [an active shooter], our schools need certain defense measures in place to protect our children.
That is what Ohio governor Mike DeWine and legislators were thinking when signing into law Ohio House Bill 99, most famously known as the permission slip to have teachers certified to carry a gun during the school day. The law went into effect in June, allowing school districts time to decide whether they want to grant teachers this right. Our school district, North Canton City Schools, made a statement at the beginning of this school year.
“At this time, North Canton City Schools will be relying on our armed police and School Resource Officers for lethal weapons use if necessary. We feel we have the measures that provide a safe environment for students and staff members already in place.” It only makes sense, as multiple school resource officers patrol the halls of every school, every day. Fortunately, our school district has the resources to provide this security; however, many schools in Ohio do not have this luxury. Even if they have one officer for the entire district, no one person can be everywhere at once in the heat of the moment. That is why the idea of arming teachers sounds appealing to these districts, and the law should persist for these scenarios.
Going into the mind of someone armed and dangerous, seeking for as much destruction possible in a short time, would they rather go into a school with one resource officer, or the potential of every teacher in every classroom possibly having a gun? Just the potential reaching effect of the law still carries weight and that strength in numbers needed for a school to be safer.
When HB-99 went into effect, another major amendment was the training hours required to have a teacher certified: a short 24 hours. Of course, this stood out even compared to other states’ similar teacher certification requirements, as police officers who have been training and armed with a gun nonstop for years would still be required additional training to become a school resource officer.
Gun knowledge and safety comes with experience and training. A perfect world would result in educators going to school everyday and simply teaching. However, the need arises in our unfortunate reality to make this difficult decision. The short training time allows for teachers to learn the basics for an emergency without countless hours of professional instruction but also focus on their line of work and passion, education.

Carys Eynon

The use of guns in our country has turned into a raging debate.
People use guns to harm others more than they do to protect themselves. Schools have become a regular target for this act of violence. Many believe that teachers should be allowed to carry guns, but that would be a huge mistake.
Trust plays a huge role in learning. If teachers were allowed to carry a gun at school, that would cause students to feel threatened by them resulting in them mistrusting their teachers. No student wants to see their teacher harm another person and no teacher wants to inflict harm on anyone. Teachers and students should focus on other ways to protect themselves rather than using firearms.
Rather than focusing on our reaction to a school shooting, we should be focusing on prevention. Once a school shooting starts, it’s too late to stop. Shooting prevention systems such as anonymous reporting systems have been set in place to prevent school shootings. There should be more effort into making sure those are more effective.
Teachers having guns wouldn’t prevent shootings, it would just cause more chaos. Other students or teachers could get caught in the crossfire of a teacher trying to stop a shooter resulting in the student or teacher getting injured, or worse.
Schools often have resource officers that are there to protect students. Those school resource officers are put through countless hours of continuous training to do what they do. House Bill 99 allows school boards in Ohio to choose to arm certain school staff members and lays out training requirements for those staff members, including undergoing yearly criminal background checks, up to 24 hours of initial school-specific training and up to eight hours of yearly school-specific re-qualification training to be developed by the Ohio School Safety Center [OSSC]. Teachers would be required to go through only 24 hours of training.
Twenty-four hours.
Twenty-four hours is not enough to ensure that teachers are ready to use a gun if necessary. Unfortunately, not all districts have the funding to provide resource officers for their schools. Allowing teachers to carry guns seems like an easier solution — but it’s not. We should make increasing school security a priority by providing funds to allow all schools to have resource officers.
Guns strike fear among many. Schools need to ensure a trusting, safe environment for the students and allowing teachers to carry guns is not the way to do so. Increasing security and making sure that people are using anonymous reporting systems is a better solution. If we can prevent these shootings, there would be no need for teachers to carry guns.