I guess we are all going through the thought processes about how we are going to try and protect our children in school, particularly without compromising our personal freedoms or turning schools into fortresses. I don’t in the least pretend to have all the answers but I do prefer to use a level of common sense to try and wade through what might be fact or fiction. Of course one of the reasons for this blog is to pass on my observations.
Like many, I’ve been a tad reluctant to sign on with the idea of arming teachers. If anything I tend to favor an armed security guard in each school, trained in all emergency situations any school might encounter (not hire an average armed guard), dressed inconspicuously. But let’s examine this arm-the-teacher thing.
For years I’ve had this little nagging idea that being a teacher in general has uncommon risk to it. Let’s face it, a teacher is expected to protect our children while at school.. hence it’s akin to expecting a teacher to take a bullet for your child. We of course don’t look at being an educator that way, but it is fact. While in reality any adult might give their life to protect any child in danger simply because it’s a natural instinct for humans, a school environment can be subject to any number of threats, not all of them from nutcases with guns. There’s earthquakes, weather, and fire.
Teachers are no different than anyone else; they have families and children of their own. Yet there’s an inherent threat to their personal safety when they go to work each day given they are morally expected to lay down their life to protect your child if the need ever arose. Now of course we know that risk is numerically minimal but we also know that it can happen, anytime and anywhere (I wonder if this concept is ever taught to our teachers during their training).
So if we accept this risk as being a valid risk in any school environment it kind of paints a different color to the arm-the-teachers debate. If your loved one was a teacher at Sandy Hook would you have wanted them armed that day? Think about it. Even beyond the nominal threats to school safety like fire and weather, schools are in fact, targets for the mentally deranged simply because of access and vulnerability and this will continue.
BUT… while the arm-the-teacher might be an idea worth considering given the risks to teachers, I think the greater application of common sense would be to immediately hire armed guards in combination with some structural changes to make classrooms “safe rooms”, and harden the school entry points. Those things can be done fairly quickly and the cost of adding one to two full time guards to a school district payroll could easily be merged into the existing system. Local districts will have to levy tax increases to cover the structural changes, though very minimal, and the ongoing payroll burden of the added guards. But this would be the least expensive and quickest way to make an immediate difference for the children. Let the politicans wrestle with gun control that will likely not affect a thing in the end.
Protect the kids now.