O’Loughlin: We shouldn’t arm teachers

William O'Loughlin

Last February, Nikolas Cruz entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and opened fire with an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle, committing one of the top 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern history. This has led to several reactions, most of them being old (and often confused) arguments.

Once again “It’s violent video games that are the cause!” seems to be an argument that is often reached for, even though scientific studies have proven that false.

“It’s not a gun issue, it’s a mental health issue” is an argument we hear like clockwork after each mass shooting, and yet on Feb. 28, 2017, Trump signed a measure removing a regulation that would make it harder for the mentally ill to get guns. So if the President isn’t worried about people with a mental illness buying guns, why should we be?

But there’s something new this time, an argument I haven’t seen touted for the other school shootings. Instead of taking less guns out of the equation, gun fanatics have decided it would be better to add more guns to the equation. 

Trump, and many Republican gun owners, think it would be wise if we armed teachers. After all, if teachers had guns then mass shooters would be too afraid to enter! Well, as the headline dictates, I disagree with this idea.

Let’s not tackle the budgetary limitations just yet. Let’s put ourselves in a scenario where this country cared about education and education was funded so well that arming teachers with military grade rifles wasn’t out of the question.

Does no one remember that Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School already had an armed guard. Do you know what he did when Nikolas Cruz entered the school and opened fire? He did nothing. He was trained for this scenario, and he did nothing. Are you expecting an elderly tenured high school chemistry teacher to be braver in that situation?

Now let’s get rid of the dream scenario of an infinite budget. As I said in my previous article, Trump proposed a $9.2 billion cut to education for the 2018 fiscal year. In some states teachers are so poorly paid they had to go on strike to get a decent wage.

These are teachers who are supposed to be fostering your child’s future in a meaningful way and preparing them for the world at large. Not only are they educating them on academic principles, but also providing a listening ear when a child is going through life’s hurdles.

They’re so much more than just teachers, they’re mentors. They’re supposed to be there for your child, and we’re already underpaying them.

Now, on top of underpaying them for the incredibly important task they’re already fulfilling, you want to put a gun in their hand. You refused to provide a budget to their school districts where they could adequately provide for their students without reaching into their own pockets or begging students’ parents to provide resources, but you found it important enough to find room in the budget to train them to be killers.  

I understand that if you’re of the mind that we should arm teachers that you’re probably scared. Maybe you’re just fed up. But you need to take a breath and ground yourself.

Arming and training teachers isn’t a possibility. It never was, and it never can be. There needs to be change, but it won’t be found in this course of action.

The change is more money into mental health research and preventative measures, more regulation on how accessible military grade assault rifles are to civilians and much, much more money into education.