Funding for teacher gun use is ill-witted

Katherine Gross, News Editor

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In this desensitized country where school shootings seem to happen often, the last thing we need is more guns. However, The New York Times reported on Aug. 22 that the Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, considered allowing states to use federal funds to arm educators. As schools (including DGN) increase security measures to protect the safety of their students, the argument towards arming educators seems to be increasingly relevant.

The Student Support and Everyday Enrichment grants are one of many provided by the federal government for use by the states to fund education. Oklahoma and Texas reportedly asked for Congress if they could spend the grant money on firearms, which is not explicitly stated in writing of the grant. In the past, Congress has banned certain federal grants for education from spending grant money on firearms for educators.

Providing teachers with firearms could have the opposite effect intended by pro-gun lawmakers. According to a report from the FBI, between 2000 and 2013, only five out of 160 active shooter cases were stopped by an armed civilian. However, the Crime Prevention Research Center reports that between 2012 and 2017, there have been seven accidental shootings on school properties by teachers with permits.  

Teachers are not perfect people, and  the chance for an accident increases with the number of guns in the school. A 2001 study published by the American Association of Pediatrics stated that one-third of 8-12 year old boys would fire a gun if one was found, even if it was a safe environment. Yes, a school shooting could be stopped with more guns, but an accidental school shooting could also occur if there was a momentary lapse of judgement by one of the 3.1 million teachers in America.

Additionally, bringing more firearms into the school environment may result in a desensitization by schoolchildren over weapons. In a place that is supposed to teach positive lessons about how “most teens” are “drug and violence free,” teachers parading around with weapons sends hypocritical messages about the priorities of schools. These desensitized students, taught to see their teachers as supposed models of professionalism and intellect, could feel more comfortable with weapons in the future if their teachers have them, which only perpetuates the cycle of gun violence so prevalent in this country today.

It is expensive to train and arm educators in America. The average cost for a 9 mm. pistol and registration in Illinois can range up to $900. The money it costs to arm and train educators can be better used elsewhere, such as in the classroom, where an even educational playing field could actually teach students to effectively turn from a life of violence to one of intellectual fulfillment.

If people truly want the students in America to be safe, do not send them to a school with guns. Send them to a properly-funded school so they can receive a better education.