Three weeks after the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Fla., the debate over arming teachers, precipitated in large part by President Trump, continues. Trump suggested that armed teachers would be a strong line of defense against armed intruders because they love and want to protect their students.
“A teacher would have shot the hell out of (the Parkland shooter) before he knew what happened,” Trump claimed.
The president was correct about teachers loving and feeling protective of their students, but then he veered way off course with the tough talk. As several teachers with firearms training point out in the Education Week article linked below, it is not that simple. In fact, Trump’s remarks indicate no understanding of how dangerous and confusing it would be for the vast majority of teachers to be thrust unexpectedly – and any attack would be unexpected – into the middle of a school shooting.
Anthony McCurdy, a high school special education teacher in Hawaii and an Army veteran with extensive firearms training, is among those quoted in the article.
“We’re teachers. We’re not cops,” he said. “And even regular cops don’t have this training – there are SWAT teams for a reason. You want teachers to be SWAT-trained cops? That’s crazy.”
Brian Teucke, an 8th grade civics and economics teacher in Hampton Roads, Va., also has a military background – and a concealed-carry permit. He said he would be willing to take a gun to school and noted his students have said they would appreciate the potential security. But, he added, most teachers don’t have his training and it isn’t realistic to expect them to double as emergency security officers.
“I think teachers are way overstressed,” Teucke said. “I think it’s asking a lot to have them take on an extra responsibility.” An extra dangerous responsibility – for them and their students – at that.
The article also raises another question.
What if an armed teacher, unexpectedly thrust into a dangerous, hyper-stressful situation, accidentally shoots a student or another teacher during an active-shooter attack?
Listen to people who know what they’re talking about, Mr. President.