Would B-A be safer if teachers were armed?

Teachers question whether or not armed educators make schools safer


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After the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, many schools have questioned the value of arming teachers.

Quintin Nelson, Staff Writer

It’s been two weeks since the tragic events that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed by an armed ex-student.

Since then, many of our most sacred institutions have come under fire, leaving us to question the school safety, gun laws, and Trump’s proposal on allowing teachers to carry firearms while on school property.

Bellwood-Antis School District teachers have mixed reviews about the situation at hand.

“I think the suggestion is a knee-jerk reaction to the situation,” reacts Mr. Matthew Elder, the Problems of Democracy teacher at Bellwood-antis High School. “A lot of research has to be done on the issue before jumping to a conclusion that extreme.”

However, Mr. Elder said firearms in the hands of the right teachers wouldn’t necessarily be bad.

We are the first responders on scene, and with a trained teacher, many lives could be saved. ”

— Mr. McNaul

“Personally, I wouldn’t (carry a firearm). Guns have their place in society, absolutely, but I think there are too many issues with it and questions that I’m not sure there are any ‘good’ answers,” he said. “I have no doubt (however), if a teacher here made that personal decision, they would be doing so out of selflessness and caring and would absolutely be responsible enough to handle it. It certainly isn’t a decision anyone should take lightly.”

Some teachers feel as if this type of resolution would work, such as Mr. Thomas Partner, an English teacher at Bellwood-Antis Middle School.

“I would feel safe with responsible, trained adults carrying a weapon to protect our students and staff, so I support this possible initiative,” he says. “I am a licensed, responsible adult; therefor carrying a firearm, if permitted, is a possibility.”

Mr. Matthew McNaul, the high school Civics teacher at Bellwood, agrees.

“I support it 100%. Many states allow teachers to carry in schools ion a voluntary basis and with training,” Mr. McNaul said. “Ohio implements the FASTER program and requires teachers to train at a higher standard than their state police officers.”

He also said that he would carry a firearm if permitted to.

“We are the first responders on scene, and with a trained teacher, many lives could be saved. Time is the greatest contributor to high casualty rates. The more time the shooter has before confronted, the more damage done,” Mr. McNaul said.

For all of the teachers interviewed, it came down to the safety of the school community, and the best way to achieve it.

Mr. Elder has taught in seven schools total, and he stated that Bellwood is just as safe as any other school he’s taught in.

“I’ve taught in schools with metal detectors, but they don’t truly result in a much safer climate or feeling for staff and students. To have them function every day and scan every person entering is difficult in terms of manpower and equipment. I’ve only been in one school that had that ability,” Mr. Elder said.

“Usually in schools with metal detectors, they searched people entering the building on random days. The problem with that is that on the days that they searched, there would be a backlog of people trying to get into the building. It wouldn’t take much, a text or even waiting in line and asking someone, for someone to realize what was going on and postpone their plans (if they had them) or get rid of anything they shouldn’t have with them… or even just go home.”

Mr. Partner said arming teachers is only one way to make schools safer, and that there are other factors to consider, including student involvement.

“In addition to possibly arming responsible, trained adults/professionals, the other part of the equation is THE STUDENTS are the eyes and ears if this school. If they see/hear something, they need to tell an adult!” he said.