It began with Columbine high school in 1999, where 13 high school students were killed. Then again at Virginia Tech in 2007, where another 12 were shot to death. Then Sandy Hook three years ago, where 26 lives were taken. This year it was at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, where 10 more lives were lost. And on Oct. 24, at Tennessee State University, another student was shot and killed. We millennials have grown up hearing about these, and sadly, they are becoming a reality we must accept.
These unfortunate realities are forcing schools to instigate safety measures. For most, that means hiring SRO officers, requiring visitors to sign in upon entrance and keeping doors locked during school hours. Some schools are even allowing concealed carry, the possession of a firearm in public, among teachers.
However, allowing teachers to carry a gun in school is the antithesis of the “safe learning environment” the school is supposed to provide. Permitting teachers to carry guns in the classroom elicits a new realm of danger. What happens when the intruder gets ahold of it? Better yet, what happens when a student gets ahold of it? And what happened to the no-weapon policy most schools enforce?
While a gun’s intended use is for teachers to protect students, if found in the wrong hands, it will be more disastrous than beneficial. The idea that a teacher could use a gun to defend their class is admirable, but one teacher can hardly compare to a violent intruder. The risk of an intruder getting ahold of the gun is far too great.
Even worse would be worrying that a fellow student could gain access to such a violent weapon of destruction. We’ve all seen it in the headlines before: “student gets ahold of gun and kills ten”. It’s becoming an unfortunate cliché. But in order to ensure our safety, we must acknowledge the potential dangers concealed carry imposes.
Finally, the no weapon policy we’ve all heard since we were only learning to read: there are to be no weapons on school property at any time. This seems obvious. So then why would we make an exception now, and allow teachers to have weapons on campus at all times? It’s a slippery slope, and soon our anti- weapon school environment will become a mini firing squad full of armed adults, ready to defend the school at any moment.
School shootings are becoming an expectation, something we’ve become immune to hearing about in the news. But allowing teachers to carry guns at school is not the way to cope with these tragedies – other, less fatal, safety measures must be taken. The possibilities of destruction far outweigh any glimmer of possible protection. More gun use on school property is not the way to solve an already over abundant use of guns in schools.