For 12 years, I have been a teacher at a very small school (7-25 students, grades K-8) in northern California. I have never felt unsafe or threatened in my isolated community, so I was shocked to learn that teachers in a small town in Texas can carry guns to school. With the increase of school shootings lately, this just seems ludicrous. How can we tell students not to bring guns to school when their teachers can?
Harrold, Texas is a town of about 300 residents (70 more than my community). Harrold has become the first town to allow its teachers to bear arms. School superintendent David Thweatt explains, “We are 30 minutes from law enforcement. How long do you think it would take to kill all 150 of us? It would be a bloodbath.” Of course, Harrold’s teachers will receive training in “crisis management”.
We’ve had a very disturbing trend of school shootings in the US. It is my belief this is caused by making schools gun-free zones. When schools were made gun-free zones, they became targets for people who wanted to rack up the body count.
Children need to feel safe to learn, and schools should be places that protect their health and welfare. Teachers with guns are not the solution to societal problems. In my opinion, we need to be greening our schools, not arming our teachers.
Jessica Gottlieb says
Love you, think you’re brilliant and inspired. In fact, when I grow up I want to be you.
But I’m not with you on this one.
I totally agree, Jennifer. I taught high school. I would never in a million years teach in a school where teachers could bring guns to school, simply because then there are guns in school. If a teacher has a gun, then students or others could conceivably get to said guns. Most schools have an armed school resource officer who, if in the horrific case that a student was able to get a gun into a school, could defend the unarmed until law enforcement arrived.
I’m not against CCPs. I’m not against gun rights. I grew up in a house full of guns because my dad hunts. I have shot handguns (ironically, for a class, in high school, in the safe confines of a shooting range). I’m not frightened of guns. But what does it say about our society when our TEACHERS are armed? Seriously? I think the solution lies elsewhere.
The solution lies elsewhere, indeed. Sadly, though there will always be a few disturbed individuals who’ll commit atrocities, there are hundreds, thousands, millions more who will commit murder because parents don’t take their children in hand.
I have relatives and friends who’ve taught in urban schools. Two of them have been assaulted by students. Why? Why are the kids like that?
Because they can be. Because they get away with it at home, and it only gets worse as they get older. By the time they’re teens and young adults, they’re deadly, and out of control.
What does it say about our society when our teachers FEEL THE NEED to be armed? The solution isn’t to disarm the teachers. You’re afraid the students may get guns from the teachers? Betcha it’s easier to get them elsewhere. Apparently it is — because they do.
Jennifer Lance says
I’m not worried that the students will get the guns from the teachers. As you said JBB, they will get them somewhere if they want them. I am concerned about the message it sends children. Modeling proper behavior is the most effective way to teach. If you don’t want children to yell in the classroom, don’t yell at the children.
I’ve never worked in an urban school nor been assaulted by a student.
Chris Clark says
I have taught in an urban school and I have been assaulted by a student. I also have been through Harrold, Texas.
I’m not exactly in favor of their idea but, the fact is, a lot of the teachers probably already had a gun in their car in the parking lot. And most likely, so did some of the students.
A small town in Texas… lots of people are going to be carrying guns already.
And KBO, good idea about the resource officer but a town as small as Harrold might only have two or three actual police officers so one of them isn’t going to be assigned to the school. At my small, urban school we had “security” but all they carried were walkie-talkies.
Not, it’s not the perfect solution and might not even be a good one. But you have to consider the location/culture. A small town in Texas. It wouldn’t have been allowed if others in the community weren’t on favor of it, including the parents and teachers themselves.
Yeah, I should have elaborated a bit more. I’m not in favor of teachers carrying guns, though not so much because of the message it sends or not. (IMHO, the right to responsibly bear arms should be modeled; that isn’t the best environment to do so, though.) But that’s neither here nor there.
The sad part is that personal responsibility and behavior isn’t modeled more thoroughly, and I think families are to blame for a lot of it.
My daughter will respect the environment when she’s older, because we teach her to do so. The kids who throw their mylar Doritos bags and plastic water bottles in my hedges as they walk by, they’re not likely to care so much about the environment.
Too many parents either don’t care or somewhat timidly don’t want to impress their views upon their children. That’s why the kids will yell at school — no one in authority has taught them that such anti-social behavior is not going to be tolerated. Similarly, people aren’t teaching their kids that anti-ecologic behavior isn’t going to be tolerated.
I guess my point is, disparaging “Do as I say, not as I do” is a cop out. It’s a lot harder for an adult to change bad habits than it is for a child to learn good habits, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t teach your kids the good habits. “Do as you should, even if I don’t always do as I should.” Guess that doesn’t have the same ring to it. But it’s what we should be teaching kids. It isn’t hypocrisy if you’re trying to change.
I have taught in an urban high school. I have been assaulted by a student, and I wasn’t really scared for my life. I was freaked out that a kid actually pushed me, but I wasn’t afraid for my life. It was still a kid with zero coping skills, not an adult hell-bent on destruction. But that’s just my story.
Kids are messed up due to a plethora of factors. That is scary. Arming teachers is not an answer. I agree with you Chris, that it’s probably something the community is fairly comfortable with if it ended up being passed. I just would hate to see this become a nationwide phenomenon.
Jamie Ervin says
I feel that Teachers should be allowed to carry a gun with certain criteria… 1) They must have a concealed weapon permit (and therefore the training that goes with it) 2) They must carry the weapon on their body at all times (too much risk of a drawer being left unlocked, etc…)
We live in a small community, but we are not far removed from a large urban area. I see the dangers Teachers face every day and I feel strongly that they have a right to protect themselves and possibly their students. We have heard stories of people with a concealed weapon who are able to stop a gunman before too much damage occurs.
I am a firm believer that those who are causing gun trouble, aren’t those with concealed permits but those who obtain the weapons illegally.
I also don’t think our children need to know if Teachers are carrying a weapon, just like I don’t need to know if the guy in front of me at the market has a concealed permit.
Tara Benwell says
I have to admit I was shocked at this headline: “Teachers with Guns”. Jennifer, I couldn’t agree with you more that modelling is the best way to teach. Don’t we see that with our own children? Just the way my daughter sometimes scolds her little brother using my tired and frustrated tone reminds me of how closely kids observe and internalize the behaviour of their role models. As a Canadian, I didn’t grow up with the right to bear arms and I am so thankful for it. In my opinion, if teachers are genuinely afraid of their students they may want to reconsider their profession or teaching location.
I have to ask first how you can equate a well educated, adult teacher to a school student, specifically a K-8 student, s mentioned in the intital post. The mental process, development and sense of consequence, just to name a few, are in completely different stages of development. Second, do you think the teachers, parents and students in the West Nickel Mines Amish School,
a school of 27 students, grades 1-8, ever thought it would happen there? I am sure they felt safe in their small community as well. I am not a total advocate for teachers carrying guns, but I do recognize there is a valid argument on either side. Every school in every community, no matter how big or how small need shed this “it won’t happen here mentality.” That line of thought is doing a great injustice to, and compromising the safety of the students of your community that you are obliged to protect. Things are much different now than they were just 12 years ago.
“Children need to feel safe to learn, and schools should be places that protect their health and welfare. Teachers with guns are not the solution to societal problems. In my opinion, we need to be greening our schools, not arming our teachers.”
1) There is a difference between “feeling” safe and being safe. The concept of a “gun free zone” shouldn’t make any rational people “feel safe” — it should make them feel unsafe because it gaurantees that only the bad guys will have guns. A sign saying no guns allowed doesn’t mean much to a gunman intent on killing.
2) What does teachers having/not having guns have to do with greening of schools? The two have nothing to do with each other.
3) Legally armed citizens aren’t the source of the problem. Those who wish to carry should (and frequently do). Since most of those people do carry concealed, the people who don’t “feel” safe arond guns don’t have to worry. They may keep their heads safely in the sand.
4) It wasn’t that long ago that guns were allowed in school. Kids checked guns in at the principal’s office and went hunting after class. Schools taught marksmanship in gym class. You had plenty of guns in schools then and no school shootings.
5) Why is it OK for teachers to have guns and not kids? Because teachers are adults and it is OK for adults to own guns. Not kids. Teachers demonstrating responsible gun ownership might be setting an expample for future gun owners.
6) People in gunfights without guns typically do not prevail. Like it or not, you can’t simply wish gun violence away. School shootings will continue. It should be up to a teacher if they want to be a victim or part of a solution.