So will I get a badge and pepper spray too?

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There has been a lot of debate about gun control lately. With all the shootings going on and the amount of violence in our cities, I think it’s a fair topic.

One of the main points of discussion has been about teachers or administrators being armed themselves when it comes to school security. Here’s my perspective: every school is different, so we should leave it up to districts and administrators as to how they run their security.

Every school is different, so we should leave it up to districts and administrators as to how they run their security.

I work in a pretty rough school in a pretty rough district. In fact, I work in a building that has experienced a shooting before. For that reason, I’m very thankful for the armed security officers we have in our buildings. They know how to do their job and do it very well. Honestly, I wish we had more of them.

With that said, I don’t think that it would be a good idea for me or our administrators to be armed as well. It wouldn’t take much for some of our students to snap and try to wrestle a weapon from a staff member. But, they perceive a uniform and badge differently than they do khakis and a polo.

They perceive a uniform and badge differently than they do khakis and a polo.

On the other hand, I went to an academically successful suburban high school in which there was very little chance of any sort of student mutiny or attacks on staff. Arming teachers in this setting makes more sense to me for two reasons.

1. It’s safer for the teachers and administrators in question.
2. These settings seem to be the ones often targeted for mass shootings.

Think about it: Columbine and Sandy Hook both fit the latter profile – suburban, well-behaved, generally filled with people who appear more “successful” or “perfect.” They also tend to have less security coverage throughout their buildings. A resource officer may pop in and out or a staff may be stationed at the entrance, but there aren’t typically security personnel stationed on every floor like my building. Having an armed teacher (especially if the students don’t know they are armed) in these settings could save lives.

Either way one looks at it, I think we need to leave this decision up to local administrators, because every school is different.

Have any of your schools made decisions on how to handle this? What’s your perspective or opinion?

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9 thoughts on “So will I get a badge and pepper spray too?

  1. Appreciate your view. My wife is a teacher of very young children and she said to me that if an active shooter was in her school her kids – developmentally challenged – could not be quiet and hide in a closet.

    I read the following article which I thought had some good points from a guy who is an ex-police officer (and Marine and soldier in Afghanistan). Good read:

    Everything that’s wrong with the argument against protecting schools with guns

    http://chrishernandezauthor.com/2013/09/03/everything-thats-wrong-with-the-argument-against-protecting-schools-with-guns/

    lwk

  2. I teach in one of those upper middle class, idyllic towns that seem to be targeted by these shooters. And I find it both demoralizing and mind boggling for us to be talking about arming the teachers instead of getting rid of the guns.
    Nothing would make me more upset and frightened than having to spend all day with armed colleagues.

    • momshieb said 1 hour ago:

      “I teach in one of those upper middle class, idyllic towns that seem to be targeted by these shooters.”

      My wife also teaches. Her children are the youngest and most vulnerable with ADHD and other issues. She has told me that if an active shooter was in her school that her kids could not hide in a closet and be quiet. It is largely beyond their ability.

      She will consder getting a concealed carry permit if the school district votes to allow teachers to utilize their permits in school.

      In Texas, where my wife teaches, there are several schools that have for years allowed selected teachers to carry a concealed handgun in school every day. They just have to get a Texas concealed carry permit and have permission from the school board. This has worked well for a number of years without any issues whatsoever.

      These particular schools are a little ways from the nearest police so the school board and parents figured this was the best solution because the police would take a while to arrive .

      “And I find it both demoralizing and mind boggling for us to be talking about arming the teachers instead of getting rid of the guns.”

      Allowing responsible adults in schools, whether they are teachers or principals or janitors, is something that could be done now and start saving lives now. Many states have laws allowing people to qualify to get a concealed carry license. I have one myself.

      Getting rid of guns is a much harder goal. Regardless of how you feel about guns I would hope you could clearly see that accomplishing that goal is several order of magnitude more difficult.

      Some years ago many people in Israel felt as you did. But as it turned out they found out that they loved the children more than they hated guns when they had several incidents of Palestinian terrorists murdering school children. So they instituted a policy of teachers with guns and that largely stopped that problem.

      Take a look at this. Go this post – the very first one on my blog in 2012 and scroll down to the bottom. Second picture from the bottom is an Israeli teacher out with some kids and she is carry an American M1 Carbine to protect those children.

      Here is the url:

      http://free2beinamerica2.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/who-needs-an-assault-rifle/

      Did you by any chance read the url I posted earlier? Here it is again:

      “Everything that’s wrong with the argument against protecting schools with guns”

      http://chrishernandezauthor.com/2013/09/03/everything-thats-wrong-with-the-argument-against-protecting-schools-with-guns/

      “Nothing would make me more upset and frightened than having to spend all day with armed colleagues.”

      I don’t want to sound harsh, or condemning, but do you suppose that is largely an emotional issue on your part vs. a rational decision to protect children instead of wishing for a perfect world you are not going to get anytime soon?

      If that principal at Newtown had had a gun, almost any kind of gun, she could have stopped Lanza. These kind of guys are not Rambo or Navy seals. They want to commit suicide usually, but by their own hand. They want to make a statement to the world something like “See what you made me do!”

      History says most of them will commit suicide or surrender when met by deadly force. If that principal at Newtown had had a gun Adam Lanza would be a short story in the newspaper and those kids would still be alive.

      regards,

      lwk

      • One other point – the idea is NOT to FOCE teachers to carry handguns whether they want to or not. That would not be a good idea. The idea is to let those who believe they can handle it, and can pass the requisite permit procedure, do so. You could even add some additional training for teachers if that made you feel better.

        People like myself, and their are millions of us now in the U.S., carry concealed handguns in public legally and are some of the most law abiding people in the country. Yes, some do get arrested for firearms violations, but at a rate very slightly lower than sworn police officers getting arrested for firearms violations (which does happen, just not very often).

        When concealed carry was first debated in Texas before it became law people said that “blood would run in the streets” literally as people got into gun fights over traffic incidents. It just never happened. And we have many years of experience with it now (as do many other states).

        lwk

  3. I don’t know. I’m Canadian, so you can guess where I stand on the gun issue. I feel like school shootings are a problem in part because of a lack of gun regulation. More guns will make the problem worse, not better.

    • Looked at your blog and you are becoming a teacher?

      My wife has been teaching since the 1970s (of and on, she took of quite a few years to homeschool our children). She now teaches in a nice school in Texas. She works with very young kids mostly with disabilities like ADHD and learning disorders.

      After Newtown we had some more discussion on these issues. She said that if there was an active shooter in her school her kids wouldn’t be able to hide in a closet and keep quiet. It is beyond their ability.

      I have a concealed carry permit in Texas and every day carry a loaded handgun in public. My wife will consider getting the same if the school district decides to allow her to carry on school property. She doesn’t particularly like guns, but she can’t imagine standing there doing nothing while a madman kills her kids. It is really that simple.

      We have several districts in Texas where teachers can get a license and carry in school (with school board approval on a case by case basis). So far, and this has been going on for years now, absolutely no problems. These schools tend to be where police response can take a while.

      “I feel like school shootings are a problem in part because of a lack of gun regulation.”

      When I was a kid in the 1950s and a teenager in the 1960s we didn’t have school shootings. But guns were actually a _lot_ easier to get then. You could buy German and Italian battle rifles by mail order back then. You could buy them from an ad in the back of a comic book. No checks on nothing. I bought my first .22 rifle at 16 with no parent and no check. In a hardware store.

      In the first school I attended, a one room school in the country with a wood stove and no running water, some boys brought their .22 rifles to school. They would often hunt on the way home after school and their families were poor so if they were successful their family ate better that night. I don’t remember too many fat kids at that school.

      I had uncles who had M1 Garand battle rifles, or M1 carbines with “high capacity” magazines from WWII and Korea. Guns were every where and ubiquitous, at least among a lot of people I knew.

      But no school shootings.

      Something changed, but it wasn’t the easily availability of guns.

      But we didn’t have a War on Drugs and most of the social programs that destroyed the black family in the inner city hadn’t happened yet. We also didn’t have a huge number of kids being prescribed psychoactive drugs like popcorn at the movie theater. Today a lot kids, especially young boys are getting some very powerful drugs and the pharmaceutical industry that sells them is about 100x more profitable than the industry that supplies personal firearms. I wrote on that here:

      Guns And Drugs
      http://free2beinamerica2.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/guns-and-drugs/

      Here are just some of the side effects of those drugs:

      Aggression/hostility
      Agitation
      Depression
      Hallucinations
      Hypersensitivity
      Increased irritability
      Mania
      Mental/mood changes
      Psychosis
      Restlessness
      Suicidal thoughts
      Toxic psychosis
      Unusual sadness/crying
      Violent behavior
      “Zombie” demeanor

      My thought is that “guns” are the chimera being put in front of people’s face as the problem in order to not have to address the real problems, deep social problems due to the unintended consequences of social programs and the effects of drugs that we are only now beginning to become aware of.

      regards,

      lwk

      • I agree the guns aren’t the only problem, but they’re the problem with which we can deal right now. I feel like increased gun regulation, and maybe only letting people have guns if they were available when the constitution was written would be at least a small step towards fixing part of the problem.

  4. “I agree the guns aren’t the only problem, but they’re the problem with which we can deal right now.”

    So guns aren’t really the root problem, but we can do something now and actually feel like we are doing something, and then forget about those real problems we ignored, of course until we notice the problems really didn’t go away.

    That is huge problem with politicians. They want to be seen doing something now, right now, and they are a lot less concerned if they will really work – just as long as it sounds good and gets them re-elected in the near term cycle and let someone else worry about the real problem somewhere else down the road.

    That is what is wrong with our (U.S.) debt right now.

    “…the problem … we can deal with …now …” is emblematic of that kind of dysfunctional thinking that just wants to do something “we can do now.” Maybe we could do something that might actually work if we first worked really hard to understand the problem.

    That sounds like a much better procedure. But there is a huge problem with that. To do that we would have to ask some really embarrassing questions about why they present policies have failed (for example, destroying the black family in the inner city). That is the real problem and why many want to ban guns. It gets around examining why their policies have been such disasters. But they won’t admit that.

    “I feel like increased gun regulation, …”

    That is also part of the problem. You _feel_ it might work so that is justification for violating the basic property rights of millions of people?

    “…if they [guns] were available when the constitution was written would be at least a small step towards fixing part of the problem.”

    The guns “available when the Constitution was written” would be muzzleloading, single shot smoothbores and rifles powered with black powder. Ok, so let’s give that a little thought.

    The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech but sometimes that is inconvenient. So let’s use the same principle there. Let’s rule that the First Amendment _only_ protects free speech if you are using a manual printing press that Benjamin Franklin would understand how to use. But for computers and the Internet, since the Founders didn’t know about them, we don’t have to apply the First Amendment.

    That is the basic principle you are advocating.

    But here is the real principle the Founders intended. They intended for civilians to be able to buy and keep military grade firearms technically equal to what the regular Army has. So in principle the 2nd Amendment should guarantee my right to buy a fully automatic, belt fed, crew served machine gun like the Browning 50 cal (which my son shoots in the Marine Corps).

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