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Arming Teachers: The Solution to Gun Violence?

MVHS Teachers Answer Loud and Clear

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Arming Teachers: The Solution to Gun Violence?

Mina Butt, staff writer

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Is arming teachers with weapons the answer to ending gun violence?

The recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has left the United States government scrambling to deal with the nation’s escalating gun violence. The U.S government has failed in producing successful legislation to deal with the country’s alarmingly high gun homicide rate, and it is clear that gun regulation needs to be created and enforced as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, it is evident that our government is still failing to produce effective legislation, as one of the few propositions announced to help combat gun violence is to arm teachers. The preposterous idea was introduced in order to help decrease the number of mass school shootings. It is typical of our incapable government to propose spending an innumerable amount of money on putting guns, the reason why so much violence has occured in the past couple of years, in a building full of children. I mean, what could go wrong, right?

Teachers became teachers to teach.Teachers, certified educators who earned their degrees with the intention of instructing the next generation, may not be mentally and physically prepared to potentially harm and kill another individual, much less a student, nor should they be asked to.

When it comes down to it; however, it is teachers who should make the ultimate decision as to whether or not they are comfortable with this legislation.

Mrs. Rebecca Wray, a Mount Vernon English teacher stated, “I do not think this is a good idea. In my experience, the capacity for violence is heightened when more weapons are involved. As a teacher, I would also never want to be in a position where I would have to shoot a child, no matter the circumstances. I think having a gun would irreparably harm the learning environment in any classroom. I also think it’s impractical – where would they be stored? How would they be secured?”

While many believe the idea is not feasible, there are teachers who can understand the reasoning behind the proposal, even if they do not agree with it.

Mrs. Kimberly Dooley, a teacher at Mount Vernon, stated that, “I see the argument for arming teachers. The idea of being trapped and helpless is horrifying, so I can understand the rationale for arming teachers from that standpoint. However, ultimately, I believe that arming teachers opens up the door to more problems that it does solutions.”

Recently, Betsy Devos, the highly criticized Secretary of Education, proposed that arming teachers should be optional and up to the individual teacher.

In response to this, Mr. Glen Peppel, a special education teacher at Mount Vernon, stated, “This isn’t about arming teachers. This is about weaponizing and redefining an entire profession. There is now a proposal to exempt full time teachers form the ‘license to carry firearms option,’ but what about coaches and other school-based personnel? Ms. Garber would NOT be packing heat, but Coach Lolagne or Ms. Tyler in the clinic might be?”

Senior English teacher, Mrs. Sabra Devers, added, “I don’t believe that arming teachers is the best response to this tragedy. There are too many variables to consider and teachers are meant to teach. I would not personally be comfortable having a gun in the classroom. I feel that I would always be checking to make sure it was secure and not be able to be accessed by students or other adults in the building who were not authorised to use it.”

Many teachers believe that the government can offer other security measures to help prevent school shootings instead of arming teachers.

Mrs. Amanda Riemschneider explained, “I can think of other things that would make me feel more comfortable at school, like additional locks on our classroom doors, metal detectors, more money allocated to counseling and social services in the school, or more money for the police department so that we can have more than one SRO.”

Making an excellent point regarding the cost of this possible legislation, Mrs. Aya Kayed, a special education teacher at Mount Vernon argued, “Arming teachers is counterproductive and dangerous. It’s an oxymoron. How is there funding for weapons and training, but not for curriculum essentials and staff that help deal with counseling children and providing therapy in adverse situations?”

“Arming teachers is counterproductive and dangerous. It’s an oxymoron. How is there funding for weapons and training, but not for curriculum essentials and staff that help deal with counseling children and providing therapy in adverse situations?””

— A. Kayed

Furthermore, the proposition to arm teachers doesn’t just affect teachers; it affects students as well. Many students, including myself, would feel unsafe in school knowing that the building is full of guns. School is supposed to provide a safe, learning environment, but how safe can we really be if arming teachers is the best thing the government can come up with?

Brigitte Canda, a student at Mount Vernon, explained that, “I would feel completely unsafe and uncomfortable if I knew that my teacher had a gun. I’m for gun control and I don’t believe that arming teachers would solve gun violence.”

Of the teachers I spoke with, most disagree with the ludicrous and senseless concept of arming teachers.

Riemschneider stated, “I think it is ridiculous. I don’t think it’s necessarily surprising, but I think that most people who are calling for teachers to be armed are people who don’t understand what it means to be an educator. I can see the value of being trained in guns in general, but I have no desire to do that for teaching purposes.”

Driving this point home and putting it succinctly, she continued “Ultimately, I became a teacher to help raise the next generation- not kill them.”

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1 Comment

One Response to “Arming Teachers: The Solution to Gun Violence?”

  1. Alex Solomon on April 7th, 2018 9:54 pm

    This was a great article. I like how you got teacher input and then analyzed it. Very professional 🙂

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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Arming Teachers: The Solution to Gun Violence?