Monday, February 26, 2018

Why I Am Against Arming Teachers

Why I am Against Arming Teachers

I am 100% against arming teachers as a way to resolve the mass shooting problem. Below are seven of my reasons. As a former public school teacher in Houston, Texas and father of two children. 

Arming teachers puts the power of death in the hands of teachers and puts the power of death into the classroom in an escalated way. 

There are some teacher-student relationships that are already very adversarial. Bad teacher? Bad student? Bad student-teacher chemistry? I am not really sure it matters, but introduce a gun into the most contentious student-teacher situations and the conversation can go to places when there is a gun present that it could not have otherwise. 

Sets yet another burden on already overly burdened and undercompensated teachers. The skill set of teaching is a complex and focused skill set that must balance content and standards with creativity and as many learning styles as there are children in the classroom. Setting a law enforcement burden on teachers is too much and run counter to the creative impulse teachers need. 

The training of teachers to be as good as they would need to be given an active shooter situation is very high. What is the cost teaching someone how to engage in an active shooter situation? For their specific school? In coordination with other teachers who also have guns? School specific training with policies and procedures would have to be written, trained, and maintained for the life of the school for teachers who are and are not armed. Would the costs for guns, ammunition, and training come out of the teacher's pocket like school supplies do? Are taxpayers going to foot the bill? 

Hit Rates
Teachers will not be as good at policing as actual police. When the NYPD has a hit rate under 1 in 5, and that is their job, then how are teachers going to do any better? Furthermore, the context is chaos with a dense population of children. 

When the heart rate tops 100 beats per minute, rational thought is replaced by fight or flight. Humans cross the physiological arousal state and get flooded. This will always be the case in an active shooter situation. Now put a gun in the hands of people whose training is to teach, not kill, and expect shooting accuracy to be perfect when a bullet always hits the shooter and never hits a child or other teacher or staff. 

Were a student to show up intoxicated, high, or in a very bad mental state and knew there were guns on campus, they may have an impulse to get that gun. They may not have the planfulness to do all that would be needed to be a premeditate school shooter, but the emergence of spontaneous school shooters would be an elevated risk. 

Perpetuates Myth
Further perpetuates the myth that the answer to violence is more violence. It doesn't. More violence is by definition not less violence. 

Simple Answer To Complex Problem
Presumes that there is one way to solve the problem of mass shootings. There is no simple answer to mass shootings and school shootings. Not only is arming teachers not part of the solution, it increases and complicates the problem.