The issues of gun control and safety have been front and center over the last several months. After the mass shootings in Sandy Hook, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., in 2012, citizens — Republican, Democrat and otherwise — are looking for solutions to prevent future tragedies involving guns.
Some call for reform of assault weapons ownership or more rigorous background checks, others call for change in schools.
Some legislators in Pennsylvania believe that guns should be incorporated in the classroom. State Rep. Gre Lucas, R-Erie, is working on a bill that would allow teachers and administrators to carry weapons into the classroom if they are licensed to carry a firearm and have passed state issued certification. State Rep. Daryl Metcafe, R-Butler, is also introducing legislation that would allow people other than school officers to carry weapons.
While the intent here is to increase safety, guns and the classroom should not be mixed. According to the legislation, these teachers and administrators are not even required to complete extensive training with firearms. Furthermore, the presence of guns in a classroom could potentially create an unnecessarily hostile learning environment for students — especially younger ones. It would probably be terrifying to be a student in a class with a gun knowing that an accident could happen at any time.
The logic behind adding more weapons to schools also overlooks the facts that armed guards were on hand for the Columbine High School massacre, not to mention that Virginia Tech University had a security force.
Increasing firearms’ presence in schools would only create a more volatile environment and is in no way a proven method of preventing future massacres.
Most schools instruct students how to respond to a fire through drills, but not as much attention is given to other crises.
Rather than arming teachers, resources should be spent on training students, teachers and administrators how to respond to a range of threats, including a rogue shooter and weather-related incidents.
Investments in anti-bullying programs, counseling services and training to better equip educators to detect when a student is in need of help would likewise be invaluable in creating school environments where every student feels more safe and supported.