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Why arming teachers is a bad idea

A car with a message in support of gun control written on the window drives past the funeral service for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Peter Wang in Coral Springs, Florida, US. Source: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

US President Donald Trump is now eagerly pushing for teachers to be armed and trained to shoot in the event of a mass shooting.

“If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly,” Trump said to students and teachers during a White House event on Wednesday.

There’s even a pay bonus being mulled as an incentive for “highly adept” educators who really understand guns to take up arms, as well as promises for more federal money to train them. The powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) supports this idea.

“You give them a little bit of a bonus, so practically for free, you have now made the school into a hardened target,” Trump said Thursday, as quoted by the New York Times.

A “hardened” school would be an unappealing target to an active shooter, he said.

But how sound is this plan?

A surveillance video had shown that the only armed guard at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School never tried to enter the school to enter the shooter.

The guard, who has resigned since, was seen in a school parking lot, “seeking cover behind a concrete column leading to a stairwell”, according to Coral Springs Police Department Officer Tim Burton.

A culinary teacher at Parkland, who sheltered 65 students in her classroom, pointed out another flaw in this idea – there is a major logistical problem waiting to happen if teachers are armed.

“The first thing that happened when the SWAT team came in – the first question they asked was, ‘Is anybody injured?’ And the following question was, ‘Does anybody have a gun?’” she said during a CNN town hall on Wednesday night, as quoted by Business Insider.

“And I wouldn’t want to be the person saying, ‘Yes, I do.’”

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida agrees. Rubio added he would be uncomfortable sending his own children to school under those circumstances.

“Imagine in the middle of this crisis, and the SWAT team comes into the building, and there’s an adult with the weapon in their hands, and the SWAT team doesn’t know who is who, and we have an additional tragedy that was unnecessary,” Rubio said.

Mourners leave the funeral service of Aaron Feis, one of the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Coral Springs Florida, US. Source: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Educators are generally against arming teachers, however popular the idea is with the NRA or certain lawmakers.

It’s a “worrisome” proposal, according to Pinellas County superintendent Mike Grego, one that would open the door for someone to carry a firearm without a “tremendous amount of training.”

Many are concerned this would make it even easier for students to access guns.

Veteran teacher and Pasco County School Board member Colleen Beaudoin said:

“The chances are greater that the firearm would fall into the hands of a student than it would protect a student.”

National groups, such as the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, have addressed this issue ever since 2012’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. After Trump’s comments, NEA president spoke up against the proposal again, saying:

“We need solutions that will keep guns out of the hands of those who want to use them to massacre innocent children and educators.”

“Arming teachers does nothing to prevent that.”

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