I received an email from my kindergartner's elementary school recently in which the subject line read "Safety Drill Updates." My first thought may have been the same as most people when they think of school safety drills; fire and/or severe weather emergency procedures, but this was a different sort of drill. This was the “Run, Hide, Fight” drill. In other words, this was a practice run in the event that my child’s school is ever involved in an active-shooter or similar emergency.
I have two older children so I’m aware that these drills are a scheduled occurrence in our schools. I am honestly thankful that our school administrators and staff have a plan in place in the unlikely event of such a situation. Although I’m grateful for the amount of preparedness, it is still an unsettling thought thinking of your child preparing for such an event.
Almost as frightening as preparing our children for something so unthinkable is the thought that we, the American people, have accepted this as the new normal. There has been real discussion of arming teachers in schools. The argument for such a scenario being the usual fight fire with fire solution - i.e., the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to have a good guy with a gun. This seems a bit of an oversimplified argument when you’re talking about putting a gun in the same classroom as your kindergartner.
Arming teachers would mean a government-funded program in order to purchase firearms for our educators. We would also need to publicly fund proper training in order that our teachers know how to properly use the firearm. Finally we must conduct recurring background checks and provide mental health evaluations for gun-carrying teachers.
It’s not that I think arming teachers is a horrible idea. (It is.) It’s that it concerns me that doing something like putting guns in a classroom full of students is the first solution some of our lawmakers turn to and some people agree or at the very least think it’s a reasonable answer to stopping gun violence in schools.
Why are we not coming up with solutions that may reduce the frequency of these tragic events from occurring in the first place? Instead of arming teachers is it possible that we could better reach the students that ultimately turn to violence before they go down that path? Why aren’t our legislators proposing multiple solutions? Instead of purchasing guns for teachers, we could hire and/or train more professionals to identify and work with troubled youths in schools. We could provide easier access to affordable health care in order to work with those who suffer from mental illness.
Although any one solution is not a cure-all, most, if not all, answers are better than adding guns to a kindergartner's classroom. After all, when you fight fire with fire the end result is just more fire.