Dewhurst Wants Gun Training for Teachers
In the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, one Texas lawmaker wants to require gun safety training for teachers. But is this the right thing to do? I remember the song like it was yesterday: "No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' loaded Glocks..."
That may not be the words of the song right now, but if Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has his way and is able to push through state-funded gun training for teachers, that could change. Under Dewhurst's plan, schools would select which staff members would receive the training. The lawmaker also wants school districts to train educators and staff on how to react during a shooting.
I must say up-front that I have a horse in this race - my wife is a high school teacher in Central Texas. That may or may not alter my opinion on the subject of gun training for teachers, but I'm also a parent of one child preparing for life in middle school and another child set to enter elementary school.
Looking at the issue of gun training for teachers from the perspective of teachers shows us an already overworked workforce responsible for the education of our youngsters. Teachers are pulled in every direction by administrators, parents, students and the watchful-eye of the general public. The last thing a teacher may want is the responsibility for a firearm in the classroom. If they wanted to have a job that involved gun play they would've joined the Army or the police department.
My wife won't even hold onto a student's phone during class for fear of being responsible should it go missing. Teachers are already parents to some of their students, psychiatrists to others, baby sitters to most, and they're also responsible for our child's future in many respects. If my wife, all 5'6" of her, is called upon to go Chuck Norris on a madman, we might be in trouble. As parents, do we really want teachers packing heat? If my child's 5th-grade teacher is the last line of defense between my kid and an armed sociopath we've gone terribly wrong.
As a 21st-century parent I've always got a watchful eye on my son's teacher. She's a great person, but not all teachers are great people. Unfortunately there are also pedophiles, drug addicts and those suffering from mental illness. I wouldn't let my child get a ride home from school from his teacher and you expect me to trust them with a loaded weapon?
From the students' side of this debate it's about being in a safe place where they can grow and learn. As a student if you spend your days in a room where the teacher is carrying a loaded weapon it doesn't bring about the biggest feeling of safety. Not all children are raised around guns, and being forced to be around one for eight hours a day doesn't foster a learning environment, it creates a prison-like atmosphere where you're constantly in danger.
A math teacher with a loaded gun doesn't make anyone feel safer. It's a constant reminder that a life-and-death situation is right around the corner. Schools were thought to be a relatively safe place to send our kids prior to that awful day in Connecticut this past December. Has that changed the world enough to force guns into classrooms?
Gun control is a very heated argument, but gun training for teachers isn't the same argument. More guns in schools may not have the desired effect. It may create an atmosphere of fear and put schools on permanent lock-down. Even in Pakistan you won't find teachers with guns. What does that say about America?
Personally the only thing I want my kids' teachers armed with is the knowledge to educate and prepare my children for the future... a future with hope and possibilities, not fear and a police state.