I Asked 60 Teachers The Loaded Question 'Do You Want A Gun In The Classroom,' And Only 1 Said Yes
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I Asked 60 Teachers The Loaded Question 'Do You Want A Gun In The Classroom,' And Only 1 Said Yes

Four others were unsure. The rest said no.

I Asked 60 Teachers The Loaded Question 'Do You Want A Gun In The Classroom,' And Only 1 Said Yes
Wikimedia Commons

The recent Parkland, Florida shooting has seemed to further ignite the debate on gun rights and methods to best keep children safe in learning environments. President Trump suggested that perhaps arming teachers would be a constructive solution. However, I wondered about educators' thoughts on the matter.

Eight states already allow educators with a concealed weapons permit to carry their firearm on school property or have no laws addressing the matter. I chose to interview teachers from schools in the Omaha metro area, where I grew up. Nebraska being a state that prohibits firearms on school grounds, I was intrigued to hear whether or not educators supported teachers carrying firearms, why and whether or not they would arm themselves were the opportunity given to them.

The teachers interviewed were at the elementary, middle and high school grade levels. The majority of the middle and high school teachers' subject areas are included. The "Other" category includes school administration, secretaries, paraprofessionals, media specialists/librarians, counselors and school psychologists. The interviews were conducted with liberals and conservatives, gun-rights activists and gun-control supporters, former military members and current pacifists.

For this article, 60 educators were interviewed. Of them, only five stated that they were in support of concealing and carrying a weapon on school grounds; four were unsure. The remaining 51 were opposed to such measures. Of those 60, only one educator stated that they would carry and conceal a firearm on campus were the option available to them; four were unsure and the remaining 55 stated that they would not carry a firearm with them under any circumstances.

Take a moment and read through some of the responses below:

1. "I am against carrying firearms in any situation. Having more firearms would only increase the issue! We need less firearms everywhere."

-English Teacher, High School

2. "We need to get to the root of the problem instead of having more guns at school."

-Science Teacher, High School

3. "While I would take a bullet for my students, I know I would never be able to shoot one. Teachers carrying a gun is not the answer..."

-Science Teacher, High School

4. "I don't feel like I need to protect myself from intruders, and I don't feel like carrying a gun would make me feel like anything but unsafe.

I don't know if I trust all the people I work with to carry a firearm safely, so I can't imagine them having one would be helpful in a time of crisis.

I'm not saying guns aren't helpful at times, but no teacher should be carrying a gun because most people are naturally good, and we don't have to worry about our safety with most students for most of our careers."

-English Teacher, High School

5. "I personally would not feel comfortable carrying a firearm. That being said, I would be in favor of well-trained designated staff carrying or having access to a firearm."

-English Teacher, High School

6. "It’s insane. The military is given hundreds of thousands of hours of training before they're given a gun to fire in war when they’re being fired upon.

Teachers do not have the time, skill, or disposition, in most cases, to carry and appropriately utilize a gun in an active shooter situation. More people would end up hurt and it would solve nothing.

Columbine had two fully armed police security officers and still multiple students died. The carnage didn’t end until they took their own lives.

It had nothing to do with one of the security guards fighting them off.

Additionally, a gunman walking in with a modified AK-47 can empty an entire clip before anyone even has an opportunity to react. More guns just makes things more unsafe."

-Social Studies Teacher, High School

7. "Half of all police officers that are killed in the line of duty are killed with their own gun...that makes me nervous!"

-Business Teacher, High School

8. "I really don't see the value in having more guns at a school. I would rather be 'armed' with knowledge as opposed to weaponry."

-Woods Teacher, High School

9. "I don’t feel safer with more guns around. Quite the opposite, actually. The thought of guns in schools scares me. We can increase security in our schools without adding gun power.

I will feel safer when we have more resources for students and families in need. I will feel safer when we address the mental health crisis in this country. I will feel safer when we start teaching our children problem solving-skills instead of solving their problems for them (this is key). I will feel safer when more adults model kindness and acceptance of others’ differences. I could go on and on.

While I firmly believe that guns are the problem (and they certainly do kill people), I also firmly believe that guns are far from the only problem."

-Other, High School

10. "More guns does not equal safety. Allowing teachers to carry firearms in school will only increase the amount of incidents. Students looking to cause harm could easily overpower a teacher to take away their weapon. Not to mention, teachers are not immune to mental illness that could cause them to inflict harm on others."

-Foreign Language Teacher, High School

11. "I think if teachers had firearms it could escalate situations, lead to accidents, and I would be worried about students getting a hold of the weapons."

-Social Studies Teacher, High School

12. "It makes no sense on educational grounds because it disrupts the relationship between student and teacher. It requires teachers to be ever vigilant, not for educational cues, but for 'violence' cues. School shootings, as tragic as they are, happen in an infinitesimal percentage of our schools. We do not need to turn schools into armed camps to solve this problem.

It makes no sense on economic grounds because schools are under-funded in most states as it is. Where will the funding for weapons, ammo, training, insurance, etc. come from?

To me, it is odd that we live in a country where this proposal seems more rational to some than proposals that impact guns even in the slightest way. To me, it is odd that we are more committed to protecting gun rights (which no one is threatening) than we are in protecting others' right to life which is the first of all rights."

-Science Teacher, High School

13. "Arming teachers with guns is not solving the problem. Instead of spending money to arm teachers, why not provide more money to the school psychologists to help those with mental health issues? I don't think making kids go to school in fear is the right way to go about solving this issue. More talk needs to be focused on mental health."

-Foreign Language Teacher, High School

14. "I do not think that having more guns in the building is the answer."

-Other, High School

15. "I believe that teachers being allowed to conceal and carry would cause a number of other issues in the classroom and school setting. I believe that we should work to prevent gun violence in schools in other ways, rather than try to deter gun violence with more guns."

-Math Teacher, High School

16. "Not only do I not believe that more guns are the answer, but I also believe that bringing guns into public schools would cause more problems in the long run."

-Math Teacher, High School

17. "We have an SRO [School Resource Officer] at our entrance, so I don't feel teachers would need to be armed."

-Other, High School

18. "As a person who has a conceal and carry permit, I completely support the concept of carrying a firearm for personal protection; unfortunately we live in a dangerous, unpredictable world where people are often in danger and threatened. With that being said, I am still not sure how I feel about guns in schools.

I feel that by making this an option we are opening a door to a whole new set of issues in our schools, from just basic gun safety and access to trusting that everyone in every situation will use the very best judgment when it comes to protecting themselves and others. It's a slippery slope, I'm afraid."

-Science Teacher, High School

19. "Schools are not the place for guns; jails are. I will never take place in ever adding to an environment where we move to this stance of treating children as criminals.

Additionally, we are all human beings who have strong emotions. When working with adolescents in high school, teachers and administrators can get pushed to a breaking point due to various reasons that are natural for such a setting.

Having access to a firearm adds an eerie level of authority and power to an already strenuous situation that should never exist."

-Other, High School

20. "We should try to eliminate weapons, not have more weapons on campus."

-Social Studies Teacher, High School

21. "Teachers, custodians, paras, etc. are in the business of educating, and not of security. It is unrealistic and unfair to expect teachers to be bodyguards for our students as well.

Additionally, the addition of guns into a school would bring about a higher chance of accidents and escalation. What if I think something is happening, but I get it wrong? I could end up shooting innocent students. If there were to be a shooter, we now have a situation where there could be a firefight, crossfire, etc. and have a result of higher casualties.

The likelihood of school staff being given the training to be truly masterful shots in a high-pressure situation is very low. You would end up with guns in the hands of people who, under stress, may add to the problem instead of helping it."

-Music Teacher, High School

22. "I think law enforcement has been quite clear on this. When they enter a lock-down or intruder situation, they are trying to identify and isolate the perpetrator. When you have many armed people, it is difficult to determine the "bad" guy/girl.

I want my students to be as safe as possible and having one secure entry, video cameras and an SRO on the facility is part of that. Having more guns on school grounds will make me feel less safe. There are far more risks than benefits.

Also, a safe climate is important for learning. There's a fine line between sufficient security and a prison-like atmosphere. Schools need to be welcoming and accepting, not impenetrable fortresses."

-English Teacher, High School

23. "I don't know that it is the best idea considering all the interactions a teacher has every day. I think we could have a better way to protect our students and schools than having teachers carry."

-Math Teacher, High School

24. "I think what people fail to think about are the security concerns that would be caused by teachers having to maintain and lock up weapons. Yes, they would be armed during a rare shooter situation. However, I think we would see more gun violence come out of this than would be prevented.

What if one teacher fails to lock up the weapon properly? What if a student (knowing every teacher has a gun) somehow got access to a weapon? What if an innocent student is shot by an improperly firearm-trained teacher trying to hit the shooter instead? Again, this seems like it could provide a greater opportunity for gun violence, which seems counterproductive.

I don't know what the solution is, but I know arming teachers is not it. I don't want the responsibility of being a pseudo-soldier/cop in addition to everything else I am already responsible for as an educator."

-Science Teacher, High School

25. "I don't think this solves the problems. Classrooms are a place for students to learn and foster relationships but with knowing there are guns I think you lose the trust."

-Business Teacher, High School

26. "Our buildings should be secure without teachers having to assume this responsibility. We are busy molding the minds of our future. Someone should be ensuring our safety. We are not allowed to carry a weapon on an airplane and it is not necessary due to security measures in place at the airport."

-Science Teacher, High School

27. "I feel admin should carry, with proper training. If there was EXTENSIVE training, background checks, etc., I would be all for it. I'm just not ready to think about that for myself."

-English Teacher, High School

28. "I support carry and conceal measures because I believe that if a potential shooter did know that teachers had a gun, they would be less likely to enter a building and start shooting. As it stands right now, a deranged student knows when they enter a school, there is nobody (minus an SRO) that will return fire right away."

-Foreign Language Teacher, High School

29. "I would feel incredibly unsafe knowing that there are weapons in the school on a daily basis. I don't care what the safety measures would be or where the weapons would be kept. I think it would make it easier for there to be gun violence in the school. I would not feel protected."

-English Teacher, High School

30. "I am so angry that this is even an option for teachers. I did NOT go into this profession to be military assistance. I will never carry a gun and, frankly, I will quit if this is the only option to keep students safe. If I wanted to be a police officer or a member of the military I would have. But I DIDN'T. I am a teacher. I am here to inspire and teach. I am not someone who should be handed a gun. These should be for trained professionals only.

I can't imagine shooting anyone, even if they had a gun pointed at me. I would rather die than shoot a child. Teachers already have too much on their plate, we don't get paid enough. We have overloaded classes and now we're supposed to address a threat level that we are not ready for.

GUN CONTROL IS AN OPTION!!! How is it deemed "easier" to arm teachers than it is to have gun control? I have to buy my own dry erase markers and Kleenex but I would be given a gun? What a load of crock..."

-Art Teacher, High School

31. "As a Marine and former firefighter, I am one of the 'highly adept' teachers President Trump spoke of today. I will never carry a weapon on school grounds and do not trust my fellow staff members to do the same."

-Special Education Teacher, High School

32. "It is not the role of an educator to bring guns to protect our students. In a flash of an instant, how would we decide when to use it? What if we shot someone else by accident? Teachers would defend and protect students to the end. But, expecting them to carry a gun rather than dealing with the real issue of gun control is ridiculous."

-Other, High School

33. "I truly believe there are just too many variables that occur or could occur in schools both during an active shooter situation and during a regular school day that would make teachers carrying weapons an ineffective solution to school violence. The only person qualified and properly trained to use a weapon in a school building is the School Resource Officer. Even with proper training, I don't feel a teacher is equipped to use a gun against another person in any situation.

Violence at the level of a school shooting aren't things teachers are trained in how to properly diffuse. I don't really understand how any rational person can think this is a good idea. How would police know the teachers weren't part of the assault as they enter a building to locate and stop a shooter? President Trump's recent comments on paying teachers a bonus to carry a weapon are completely asinine. Teachers don't receive bonuses for anything! This is a terrible place to start!

Gun control laws that ban AR type rifles, stricter age restrictions, more thorough background checks, and increased access to resources for young adults to deal with trauma are the types of things I think will reduce the types of tragedies schools have encountered."

-Other, Middle School

34. "Millions of people have decided to serve their country by protecting the physical lives of their fellow humans; I decided to serve my country by nourishing their minds. My role as a teacher involves protecting the self-esteem and broadening the academic potential of teenagers, and I do not see that role as analogous to the role of an armed guard."

-Social Studies Teacher, High School

35. "I don’t have an in-depth answer, but more guns will not solve the problem."

-Math Teacher, High School

36. "If we want to prevent guns shootings in schools, it's backwards to put more guns INTO our schools."

-English Teacher, High School

37. "I feel that it would be too easy for someone to take a gun from a teacher and use it to hurt others. I don't feel it would be a safe option."

-Math Teacher, Middle School

38. "Adding more guns to schools will only create more problems."

-English Teacher, Middle School

39. "I think there would be too many guns in one location. Students are already sneaky and often get into desks and steal things from teachers. This, in a way, would make it easier for a student to obtain a gun if they wanted to."

-Music Teacher, Middle School

40. "This will only create more fear, lack of feeling safe and accidents. No thank you. Help our schools have an 'army' of teachers, counselors, social workers and school psychologists."

-Other, Middle School

41. "I have nine points on this:

1. The majority of teachers are not combat-ready!

2. Also, as a pacifist, I would never consider shooting someone, so a firearm would be pretty useless for me.

3. It is never okay to legislate that teachers become militia.

4. My job is to teach art, not drive myself to insanity worrying if I may have to shoot a former student!

5. As for offering extra pay for a trained teacher to carry a gun at school, my question would be: what type of teacher would do that? That scares me, too.

6. I also support fully-funded diagnosis and treatment of mental illness beginning at elementary school level and extending to geriatric level.

7. I want the NRA out of government and politics.

8. Armed security did not prove useful in the last school shooting, so my voice would support any legislature that is geared toward gun sales restrictions. We have not tried ANYTHING to limit sales of weapons used to kill large numbers of people (meaning more than one!), so why not choose a starting point!

9. Don't get me wrong: I would die for my students in a heartbeat."

-Art Teacher, Elementary School

42. "Teachers are taught to defend students every single day. How are we supposed to carry a gun with the intent to potentially shoot one of those same students the next day? What happens when a teacher is jumped by a larger-than-them student or a group of students to take said gun? What happens when some teacher finally goes over the edge and shoots a kid? How do you expect teachers to teach when, at the end of the day, the gun they are carrying is intimidating students?

When I was a high school student I had a teacher who was extremely adept at martial arts. Several times he was jumped in the parking lot by students who just wanted to see what he would do. Imagine what would or could have happened if he had a gun.

I had another teacher who was a Vietnam vet. I once was in a class where kids decided to pop a chip bags in succession to see what he would do. He wasn’t ready for it and it initiated his PTSD sending him over his desk bunker style. What might have happened if he was armed?

These were great men but I would have never wanted them armed and both were former military."

-Science Teacher, Middle School

43. "I think a professionally-trained & armed security guard at a one entry/exit point for visitors is acceptable. Metal detectors are a good idea as well. I think there are other ways around this school issue, like gun reform, instead of adding more guns, which just adds to funding for the NRA and is the opposite of the intentions of KEEPING GUNS OUT OF SCHOOLS.

I will not continue to teach if there are teachers in my school with guns. Instead of paying for training & bonuses for teachers who are "willing" to conceal and carry, that money could be better used for security systems, cameras, and metal detectors."

-Music Teacher, Elementary School

44. "My position is that no one should carry firearms on school grounds."

-Physical Education Teacher, Elementary School

45. "I'm on the fence. However, if the person is trained and comfortable in doing so, I would be for carrying and concealing firearms."

-Elementary School Teacher

46. "If a teacher chooses to carry and conceal a firearm on school grounds, I am in favor of that. If that teacher has been properly trained and feels extremely comfortable to do that on a regular basis, then I say go for it. I am all for it! I would even be okay with such a teacher possibly earning some kind of additional salary as an incentive. Honestly, I would feel safer knowing some of the teachers in our school are carrying and concealing a firearm.

However, I do not want to carry and conceal a firearm myself. While I am in favor of people owning guns, if they obtain them legally and use them appropriately, I myself am not comfortable around guns. I would not feel comfortable carrying one or being expected to fire one if a necessary situation presented itself.

In fact, if carrying and concealing a firearm on school grounds became a mandatory part of my job, I would leave the profession. I know many of my fellow teachers feel the same way. I am an educator, not a security guard. I would do everything in my own power to protect my students from an active shooter, but I would draw the line at that. Teachers already have a myriad of unrealistic expectations placed on us every day. I do not get paid enough to add another such expectation to my plate."

-Elementary School Teacher

47. "A gun kept in a room full of children is NEVER a good idea"

-PreKindergarten Teacher

48. "This would be too dangerous. The thought makes me uncomfortable. I feel that weapons would make a school feel very negative, whereas we should be teaching empathy and compassion instead."

-Other, Elementary School

49. "I am a teacher, not a security guard. I am at school to teach children to be kind, caring and learn academics.

Districts don't supply paper, pens or other most everything else--how are they going to pay for guns, bullets and training? When am I supposed to attend the trainings? I am already spending hours outside the school day preparing lessons and grading work.

The professions that carry weapons and are expected to use them are paid a considerable amount more than a teacher makes and receive, in addition to consistent and ongoing training.

How will the appropriate authorities know I am on their side in a split second if something happens at my school? Who is going to pay for the liability insurance if someone gets killed in a crossfire or a student tries to take the gun away from me? Some students are bigger and stronger than I am."

-Elementary School Teacher

50. "I am a teacher to teach. I have no desire to use a firearm in my school."

-Elementary School Teacher

51. "This is not a subject that will suffice with a simple yes or no answer. There are so many unpredictable variables that could arise at any moment that could favor or condemn either side of the argument.

It would be wonderful to think that all teachers could carry a weapon to protect their students. It could provide an almost immediate response to a threat against students. It could also help thwart a psycho's plan to kill innocent people.

However, there are many possibilities that need to be considered when making this decision. What kind of students are in these schools? Would they try to steal the gun, if given the opportunity? Would they try to overpower a teacher to take the gun from them? In my experience, there are some 4th graders I could see trying to do this.

Is this gun going to be holstered or secured in a safe? If in a safe, how long will it take to retrieve the gun after lockdown procedures are completed? Many people have suggested that armed teachers could neutralize the threat. My question is, how so? Do they expect them to leave their students ALONE to do so? Are these teachers trained how to go after and take out a threat? What if there are students fleeing? Are you supposed to just try to shoot the person anyways with the risk of shooting innocents?

What if the shooter is a current or former student? Will that teacher actually be able to pull the trigger, having a personal connection with the shooter (even if that person is shooting others, I still believe this could be a factor)?

Who is going to provide and pay for the PTSD they could suffer from, having the weight of what you had to do haunting you? Will they have a job after this incident? Will it affect the teacher's reputation? Will the teacher be sued by the shooter's family?

What happens if a gun accidentally discharges in a school and hits a student or coworker? I'm sure I could think of more variables that would and should be considered when approaching this topic but these are just the ones that immediately came to mind. FYI, I am a gun owner and enthusiast."

-Other, Elementary School

52. "We need fewer people with firearms - not more!!!"

-Elementary School Teacher

53. "Teachers carrying guns seems too radical to me. It may seem more necessary in some schools but definitely not most. I do not want our schools to feel like a prison. I would also hate for guns to get in the hands of the students."

-Other, Elementary

54. "I would not be comfortable having a weapon in my classroom or a weapon in someone else's classrooms. Too many things could happen with students. Not every teacher would be responsible enough with a weapon. It could get stolen or discharged by accident. Students would know about the gun and there could be a student who could find a way to access the gun and use it in some way. Guns are not the answer.

There are many societal issues that have led to a higher percentage of young people with mental health issues. The breakdown of family, poverty, low morals and ethics, poor role models, too much emphasis on the 'me is most important' child psychology, the trophy generation. Kids don't get what they want, they act out and, instead of suffering logical consequences, we are babying them and are worried about their psyche. This causes just the opposite to happen; they don't understand cause and effect and they don't know how to deal with failure.

We are raising kids who are not responsible, resourceful or kind. When society starts teaching kids that they need to be more concerned with how they treat others then themselves, as it was when I grew up, things will start to change."

-Gifted and Talented Teacher, Middle School

55. "Schools are not the place for guns. The answers do not lie in arming teachers, they lie in better gun control measures and mental health care. Let’s fix the problem, not try to slap a hideous bandaid on it that is likely to create more problems than it fixes."

-Gifted and Talented Teacher, Elementary School

56. "If [carry and conceal on school grounds] were legal in my state, I would be able to protect my students and possibly save lives."

-Elementary School Teacher

57. "My opinion is that it takes quite a bit of time to be truly trained to handle a firearm responsibly and without anxiety/fear. My concern is that teachers would not be given the amount of training that would be necessary to handle a gun with confidence.

I also do not think the responsibility of firing a gun and possibly wounding/killing another human should be yet another burden for teachers to bear. Even in self-defense situations, there are many legal aspects that would arise where teachers would have to defend their actions.

I feel it would also cause stress/confusion for the police and first-responders to try and determine who exactly is the "armed intruder," with so many people armed with guns.

Give students better access to health care, including not only those suffering from mental illnesses, but those who go through trauma-therapy and tools to cope in these situations. Invest in the health of our students, not weapons."

-Foreign Language Teacher, Middle School

58. "I don't want there to be firearms around anyone. It won't change anything if you try to control the danger of firearms with more firearms. I hope we can come up with better solutions."

-Foreign Language Teacher, High School

59. "I think more guns on campus or in schools only makes things less safe. I also think it just puts more money in the pockets of the NRA, gun lobbyists and politicians who are fighting gun control."

-Elementary School Teacher

60. "We already juggle so many things and are stretched too thin as is! To expect a teacher to also have to conceal and carry, and be able to have the training to effectively carry out a live shooter situation is ridiculous!

As a mother, I also refuse to send my children to a school with armed teachers. Instead of arming us with guns, why not arm us with smaller class sizes so I can truly get to know my students; school supplies and resources to meet every child’s needs; funding for more qualified school counselors and physiologists to be in the schools-not just for testing but working to meet the mental health needs of my students; a salary that shows respect for what I do every day and so the good teachers have incentive and can afford to stay in the profession; and, finally, support and respect that I am a professional, with professional training, for the decisions I make daily to help your child grow emotionally and academically.

Why not arm us with those things?"

-Elementary School Teacher

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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