On February 14th, a school shooting in Florida took the lives of 17 people. The gunman used an AR-15 rifle, a semi-automatic made for military use and the choice of weapon for other mass shootings. The aftermath of this shooting sparked debate over a controversial topic: arming teachers. According to newsELA, during a listening session in the White House, President Donald Trump revealed that he is in support of the idea of teachers carrying a concealed firearm.
“A teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They’d go for special training and they would be there and you would no longer be a gun-free zone,” Trump suggested. People have also agreed that armed school staff could respond quicker than the police force.
Others do not share the same views. The president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, said that an educator’s handgun would be no match for the assault-style weapons attackers often use. “The solution is to ban these military weapons from people who shouldn't have them," Weingarten said. Some think it’s too risky to have a firearm in a classroom since it could be potentially accessible by the wrong people.
What do the teachers here at Asheville Middle think? Would any teachers step up and fire a gun in a serious situation?
Chelsea Barolet, an AVID teacher here that teaches grades sixth through eighth, strongly disagrees with guns in school. “I have no interest in firing a gun, and in fact, do not want to touch one at all (in or out of school). I do not believe that I would be able to act quickly and defend my students with a gun. My first priority would be to assure and maintain safety of all students in my classroom. Safety in this situation would include keeping them as calm as possible and making all attempts to comfort them. I, nor any other teacher, could do this with a gun in my hand,” Barolet said. As an alternative option to guns, she suggested using steps listed in the Department of Homeland Security publication, "Active Shooter; How to Respond", which included remaining silent, hiding, locking the doors, calling for law enforcement, and, as a last resort, fighting back using objects in sight.
“Allow me to be clear in pointing out that it does not suggest the use of a gun at ANY point in this outline,” Barolet further wrote. What do you think? Should teachers be armed?
Story by Erin Chen
Photo from: http://triblive.com/usworld/world/13340177-74/arming-teachers-pros-and-cons