OPINION: Arming educators won’t fix issues with school safety

Photo courtesy of The Huffington Post

As a student, future educator and citizen of the United States, I implore our government to strive for more than a reactive measure to the murdering of our children.

The solution to the United States’ gun violence epidemic is in schools, but it has nothing to do with teachers carrying guns.

Arming teachers appears to be an obvious solution to many, but the problem is that shootings don’t just happen in the classroom.

I’ve seen the Ronald Reagan quote, “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions” floating around since the shooting. However, there is no reason not to hold mass murderers to the highest court of the law while also asking ourselves what led up to that moment societally that we could learn from to guard the next school.

Most dangerous about this quote is that it allows the rest of us in the wake of this tragedy to claim not guilty.

While I think any teacher would lay down their life for and do anything to protect students, any educator will tell you that teachers have been begging not for guns, but for funding for school psychologists, smaller class sizes and limited standardized testing. They will tell you that they seek to connect students with themselves, their peers and the topics at hand.

The solution found in the classroom is precisely this, that we might raise students with the emotional tools to process life’s trials without harming themselves or others, identify early on mental illness and break down its stigma, and build children in tune with who they are and how they feel.

The #ArmMeWith movement exhibits angry teachers not interested in carrying guns with powerful tweets like “#ArmMeWith Snacks to feed my hungry students who can’t focus.” “#ArmMeWith A curriculum that focuses on student passions rather than raising test scores.” “#ArmMeWith a comprehensive school counseling program.” “DO NOT #ArmMeWith a gun. I teach to raise up the future, not to bury it.”

Since when has academia served the role of police officer? The personality of most teachers is antithetical to the personality of an effective gun operator. A personality drawn to nurturing is not drawn to killing.

While I wholly respect teachers empowered by carrying, I believe it is only a temporary solution. A solution for the greater glory of our nation and God can be found in ones that transform with total redemption of the brokenness. Self-defense, and the defense of others are righteous causes, but to ask teachers who are already overwhelmed by a plethora of tasks to take on that of physical protector in addition to emotion guardian is antithetical to their job description, and in that same way, an ineffective solution. I would never ask a police officer to identify and accommodate the differentiated needs of a diverse classroom while on duty, so why are you asking me to do the same?

Brittney Wells is a first-year Montessori major and staff writer for the Newswire from Cincinnati.