No, they shouldn’t.

Jacob Esplin, Editor

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Recently, President Donald Trump called for 40% of a school’s staff to be armed and trained. However, teachers should not be armed at school. There are several primary reasons for this. First and foremost is the enormous cost of such a program. Second is the negative effect on teachers and their primary job. Finally, it would not be an effective measure.

Training these teachers to be skilled enough to correctly use a gun in a hostage school shooter situation, not to mention arming them, would cost money that could be used to improve school infrastructure or benefit education in other ways. Some argue that many teachers already know how to use a gun, or own a gun. But this casual experience is not enough to qualify a teacher to shoot in a crowded environment. If 40% of the school staff was armed with weapons paid for by the state, this would put an extra burden on taxpayers. There are 3.1 million teachers in the US. A cheap 9mm  handgun can cost $500. This adds up to a ridiculous sum of at least 620 million dollars. The training of teachers would be even more expensive. If weapons are not provided by the state, there is less control over what guns our teachers can potentially keep in their classrooms. In addition, during a school shooting the administration would have no knowledge of who was armed and who wasn’t.

Teachers want to teach. Teachers are not soldiers; they should not have to kill as part of their job. However, if teachers were armed, it would become an element of the profession. Would trained and armed staff be paid extra, or be more likely to be selected for a job offer? People with training are more valuable because they cost less so it seems reasonable for them to receive additional money because they are already trained.  If a teacher has a moral issue with using a gun, would they be passed over for job offers, or paid less, because they were less valuable? It is quite possible that the teachers that were passed over were better teachers than the ones who were armed. Because school shooting will happen to few schools, teachers should be primarily focused on properly educating students.

Teachers may not have the courage to hunt down a school shooter. It is likely that teachers who have no experience getting shot at would not be able to stay calm. No amount of training could eliminate this issue. Experience under fire is necessary to gain control. But since school shootings are so rare, it would be extremely unlikely for a teacher or school to have to deal with a shooting more than once.

We cannot let the emotional desire to do something cloud our judgement. We must proceed with caution, and not just implement a plan because something is better than nothing. There are other steps we can take to keep the kids in schools across the country safe other than having teachers carry a firearm. Arming teachers would be an expensive, ineffective waste of time and money.