In Oklahoma this week, the state senate approved a bill which will impact those attending and working within multiple school districts. The legislature passed this bill allowing teachers to carry concealed firearms in the classroom as another measure to protect the children they are responsible for.
While many may question Oklahoma’s decision, stating that it is only another venue in which dangerous weapons can be brought onto vulnerable school grounds, the pros far out weight the deadly cons. While resources officers are already able to carry firearms on campuses across the state, this adds another layer of protection to an extremely vulnerable population.
Signs were erected around one rural school in Oklahoma already, warning any who may cause harm to students to desist in hopes of deterring those who may have violent thoughts about the campus. This entirely changes most gun-free campus policies. These signs warn that some employees are armed and “willing to use whatever force is needed to protect our students.” In light of events such as Sandy Hook, many have begun to question the safety of children gathering in schools. Stating that a campus is weapon free only opens a door to those looking for an easy target which schools generously offer. They have a rich supply of them, sitting patiently or impatiently together waiting for the day to end.
There is added danger of throwing guns into an environment that often survives on deep emotion and conflict. You could be giving an unstable individual access to a gun if it is not properly stored. However when answering a call for help, who is immediately contacted? State and city officials wielding guns. Having the protection in the immediate area not only saves time but also has the possibility to save lives.
Not only will the teachers be the last defense — their position gives them a unique insight when a situation may arise. They see the students and employees each day, understanding and subconsciously memorizing their routine. Therefore when something seems amiss, the teacher who has regular contact with their students or colleagues is more likely to notice abrupt changes than the already gun-carrying resource officers are placed within the school.
Now, teachers are not going to be handed firearms at random. They must have proper certification and also be specifically trained with a program like that of a security guard. The board of education would have to approve them as well. Basically, their new role will not only be that of educator but protector. They will also need to wear a special badge or item of clothing to identify them as carrying. They will essentially be highly educated security guards, so why the debate?
The fear of a school shooting is far too real. Despite many efforts, safety training and scenario planning are often missed or ignored. How many of us truly watched the active shooter video that was sent out last year? We don’t think we have the time to consider safety, but we get upset when someone takes a radical stand to protect us.
Overall, training teachers in defense is a wonderful idea whether it be preschool or college. Hysteria will ensue, and knowing that someone is trained and wielding the tools to effectively stop the situation only adds to the benefits of such planning. Arming our educators can be a great asset in protecting our youth. Education, training and planning are critical in this. Certification needs to be extensive and negligence avoided at all cost.
It’s been said before, and it will be said again: “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” You can count the bad guys as much as you like. Just don’t forget about the good guys, the heroes of these tragedies and every life they saved simply by taking that risk, for better or worse.