In light of a mass-shooting tragedy perpetrated by alleged shooter 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, 17 high school students were left dead Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
Many survivors of the tragedy are pushing for gun reform via social media, the press and other forms of activism. Shooting survivors have even planned a march on Washington to promote gun reform planned for March 24. But some lawmakers have a different fix for this problem in mind – arming teachers with guns.
Alabama lawmaker Rep. Will Ainsworth is proposing legislation that would allow public school teachers and administrators to carry a concealed weapon with training.
The legislation is similar to a bill Sen. Don White, R-Pa., brought to state senate in 2014 and again in 2017.
The bill would have allowed trained teachers, principals and other school employees to possess firearms on school premises.
But, unlike the survivors pushing for gun reform, lawmakers are not in a school setting and were not in that life-threatening situation. Many of the lawmakers proposing these laws are forgetting something important: Teachers can be unpredictable, too.
Schools already have trouble weeding out teachers who break the law by engaging in sexual relationships with students or selling drugs to them.
According to a Jan. 20, 2015, article by The Washington Post, there were 781 reported cases of teachers and other school employees accused or convicted of sexual relationships with students in 2014 alone.
A simple Google search of “teacher sells drugs to students in U.S.” will provide hundreds of web page results.
So what makes lawmakers trust these teachers with weapons that can kill so many students in just seconds? What makes these lawmakers believe schools can weed out employees who can be trusted with firearms around kids from those who can’t?
The idea is “if people are going to commit mass shootings, they aren’t going to follow the laws about bringing guns to school.”
That kind of thinking is fundamentally flawed for a few reasons, though.
If someone is planning out a mass shooting, it is likely that he or she is not going to follow laws preventing guns. However, that is taking into account only shootings that are planned.
Unstable teachers may not plan to shoot their students, but if they have a gun readily accessible, they might. Teachers sometimes get physical with students, whether it be to stop an altercation or to defend themselves against assault. Throwing a gun into the mix could end up with more unnecessary deaths and injuries during these very altercations.
It may be impossible to prevent child predators and drug dealers from infiltrating school systems, but it is still possible to prevent teachers who are irresponsible from bringing guns to school.