Over the last century in California alone, more than 17 school shootings have been recorded between 1990 and 2018 (Lott, 2013). Although the incidences of shooting are isolated and rare, it is almost impossible to predict or prevent them from happening. Arguments supporting and against the armament of teachers in the US are examined from the functionalist, conflict, feminist, and interactionist perspectives.
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Arguments for and Against Arming Teachers
Proponents of arming teachers argue that allowing staff to defend themselves would lead to protecting students. The rationale for this argument is that only an armed defender can stop an equally armed attacker (Lott, 2013). Therefore, from a functionalist perspective, teachers should be engaged in arms training and allowed to come with their concealed firearms in school. This is a precautionary measure against a potential attack. Since the American society is interconnected, arming teachers may harmonize the security needs for the benefit of the students by maintaining a social equilibrium (Proulx, 2018). In this case, teachers will have full control of the school shootings by responding in equal measure.
From a conflict perspective, proponents of arming teachers argue that it is a bad idea to stop teachers from carrying concealed guns to school. This argument is supported by the fact that the law does not prevent other executives, politicians, lawyers, and other professions from defending their lives (Lott, 2013). Disallowing teachers to carry guns to school has resulted in a conflict of interests since educators feel that the lives of all people within the educational environment are equally important. Therefore, allowing trained teachers to carry concealed weapons inside a school is an effective short-term remedy to unpredictable shooting situations.
The interactionist viewpoint presents an argument to justify legislation in place as making schools safe. This perspective confers that armed response to school shootings would improve safety and send a strong message to potential perpetrators of a quick counter-response (Proulx, 2018). Therefore, deaths from shooting incidences might be reduced by a significant number. The interactionists believe that an armed teacher is in a better position to survey a situation and quickly respond due to mastery of the school environment.
Opponents of arming teachers have argued that this action would be a distraction since the primary role of teachers is to teach. The role of protecting students in schools is not a function of the teaching staff, but the government security institutions (Lott, 2013). For instance, from the conflict perspective, arming teachers might open a door for constant conflict in role execution for the educators. Moreover, it might not be easy to track weaponry usage in the school environment. For instance, the Ohio Federation of Teachers’ president was quoted lamenting that gun training “places an unfair burden on teachers” (Proulx, 2018, par. 4).
The feminist perspective has presented mixed reactions to arming teachers in school. Despite the common view in support of regulated arming, this perspective notes that this strategy should be used only as a backup to a more secure school environment. For instance, adjusting government initiatives such as the installation of door buzzers, cameras, and hiring more guards might give better results (Lott, 2013). Moreover, the unregulated arming of teaching increases the exposure of female students to harassment by male teachers.
Different perspectives support the regulated armament of school teachers to make the educational environment safe. However, this should be a backup plan for other safety regulations and policies.
Lott, J. R. (2013). More guns, less crime: Understanding crime and gun control laws (3rd ed.). Illinois, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Proulx, N. (2018). Should teachers be armed with guns? The New York Times. Web.