I am often asked my thoughts on arming teachers within schools and I always start my response with the following statement: Arming school teachers can be a controversial topic and one that should be decided by schools within their respective communities.
That said, I am always interested in hearing my colleagues’ thoughts on this topic, as open discussion often creates an opportunity for learning. Please be sure to use the contact form below to privately share your thoughts or ask me any questions you may have.
Here are my own thoughts on arming school teachers…
Of the many issues with arming teachers, one is constantly overlooked. Most think if there is an Active Threat in the building, the teacher will go to the threat. This is not true. Yes, if a teacher was in the cafeteria where the threat begins, they can try to take out the threat. However, try to imagine a threat and a teacher exchanging gunfire in a crowded cafeteria.
The real issue is what happens when the armed teacher is in their classroom when the announcement comes on there is an Active Threat in the cafeteria. Many think the teacher will leave their classroom to go after the threat; however, this is not how they are being trained. They are being trained to be the last stand in their own classroom. Why? Imagine if they left their classroom to go after the threat and were killed. The situation is now worse because you have a classroom full of students without a teacher.
This goes against what the Incident Command System (ICS) says are two of the important actions during an event:
1. Life Safety
2. Incident Stabilization (Prevent the incident from getting worse.)
We also need to remember that an armed presence is not a deterrent. From Columbine to Parkland there were SROs and the attacks were still carried out by the assailants. This is just one more example of the public demanding ‘something needs to be done’ when tragedies occur. Doing things that don’t make good sense does not keep our students and staff safer.