There's no arguing that the number and severity of school shootings in the past 20 years has dramatically increased. In the 19 years between Columbine in 1999 and Douglas in 2018, there were at least 117 firearm incidents (resulting 115 murders, 39 suicides, and 198 gunshot injuries) in American K-12 public schools.
It is impossible to measure the traumatic impact of these "active shooter incidents" on the families, survivors, witnesses, classmates, and communities involved. If I'd lost one of my students to such an incident, I can only imagine the horror, anger, helplessness I'd feel -- and the desire to do ANYTHING possible to protect the rest next time.
I have to assume that this is the motivation for the misguided move to arm teachers in public schools around the nation. Perhaps an educator with a 9 mm handgun concealed in a holster beneath his sports coat will respond in time to stop the next teenage terrorist from taking another young life on his campus, but I have my doubts. Law enforcement officers train regularly with firearms, and far too many of them make fatal mistakes of judgement and aim in critical moments. And is it reassuring or retraumatizing to students have staff members (even responsible, clear-headed, straight-shooting ones) carry sidearms, just in case?
Keeping our students and fellow staff members safe is our very first concern, as no learning can possibly take place when people feel endangered, But is arming teachers the right solution? Im interested in hearing your point of view.