Sandy Hook surely has reset the nation’s dialogue on how to protect our children in school. A surprising to some on the outside, but should come from no surprise to us inside our country, is that groups and individuals are now advocating arming school teachers and administrators. I hope in this brief blog to help us think this idea through.
Our American educational system is not the military or the police force. I think it is fair to say that a good number of women and men teaching our children have never owned or handled a firearm. On top of this, even for those who have, if they are going to be protecting our kids with guns, we would expect for regular proficiency to be tested regularly.
But, let’s say we get to the point where we have teachers comfortable with guns and regularly certifying their proficiency. Considering the number of kids who get into trouble in our schools annually, how are we going to make sure that our teachers can a) quickly draw their loaded guns but also that b) troubled children cannot get such guns from the teachers? Think back when you were in school, do you think the answer to keeping you safe was for your librarian to have a 9mm, in a holster, loaded, and quickly accessible where she could draw it on an unexpected assailant? When your science teacher was setting up the bunsen burners so you could mix chemicals, or when your math teacher is putting the equation on the board, or when your shop teacher was showing you how to use a power saw, do we really want them to be trained to be ready to stop at any point, draw, and fire accurately at any threat?
I do understand the danger out there is real and we need to find ways to safeguard our children. I just know in the military itself, there are surely some souls out there that I would trust much more to defend me from a random shooter than the military population in general. The military does not have us all walking around with loaded firearms on a normal duty day either. And again, the academic community is not the military. I also do not think we begin to comprehend the number of schools and teachers we have in our nation. Do we have any clue what it would mean to have armed protection in every classroom in America?
Groups and individuals weaken their arguments and drop the discussion out of reality by arguing that our children’s teachers and administrators should be armed. If we want armed security in our schools, that’s understandable. But surely, let’s hire folks who are trained for it and security is their speciality. That is far preferable to say we are arming the guy who got his M.A. in library science and expect him to provide security while being a librarian.
Too often in our society, proposals are being floated that simply are unrealistic. This is one of them. And I hope Christians will speak up and say so.
Until next time,