by Matthew Tulli
A proposed Pennsylvania bill by State Sen. Don White (R-Indiana) would allow school employees, after obtaining licensing and certification, to carry concealed weapons at school. And by “school faculty”, I don’t just mean teachers. By “school faculty”, I mean teachers, principals, counselors, custodians, lunch ladies, etc.
This is obviously getting a lot of backlash from Democrats, who stand far apart from the views of many Republican Senators. Sen. Anthony Williams, D-Philadelphia, said, “It is a bad idea to place such a grave responsibility on people whose principal interest is educating children,” according to The Washington Times.
At first reading that statement seems ridiculous, and that’s exactly what it is. Obviously a reaction to recent massacres like Aurora, Colorado, Columbine High School and Sandy Hook, the solution will not be found in arming teachers. Although tragedies like this do happen, putting a gun in the hands of an individual takes a lot of trust, more than I think we are able to invest for such a rare occurrence. Instead of giving teachers weapons, we should hire more qualified, highly screened security guards, if more security is necessary.
There are many problems with the idea of allowing faculty to carry weapons. First off, the ability for schools to put a firearm in the hands of all school faculty at the over 3,290 schools in Pennsylvania sounds to me like a very dangerous proposition. The guns are being put exactly where we do not want them: in schools. It seems to contradicting the point of the the bill, which is to supposedly to protect students. What happens when a seemingly sane teacher pulls a gun on a student? Or what happens when a student gets his hands on one of these guns? This proposal brings up many more ramifications that exist now. I think it would be natural for students to feel uneasy about knowing their teachers are in possession of a deadly weapon. I’m sure that feeling would wear away within a little while, but it’s still going to sit in the back of our minds.
Secondly, Adam Lanza, the shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary used a fully-automatic military grade assault rifle to murder those 26 people. I’m not sure he would be too fazed about some teachers carrying around small pistols, considering he committed suicide after first responders arrived at the scene.
Third, with school budgets already tight, and the money spent on the certification and training programs would just make education costs tighter. Would it costs the school district to buy the weapons? Would it costs schools to train the faculty? If the answers to these questions are “yes”, it brings me back to the question: Is this really necessary?
Why do you think we have an armed officer, Mr. Hottenstein? Why do you think our doors are locked at all times? Why do you think there’s a 2-way mirror in the office? These innovations are here to keep all 2000 students and faculty safe throughout the school day in today’s dangerous world. So is putting a deadly weapon in the hands of over 125,000 teachers reasonable? My answer is no.