Should teachers carry guns

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Introduction

Protecting students in school is paramount and left to the school administration. After instances of shootings in several schools, there have been propositions to keep students safe. A major proposal to improve security is the availability of guns in schools. Recently, there have been debates concerning the enactment of laws that allow teachers to carry concealed guns to school. The issue of guns in school creates a controversial discussion as the presence of the same precedes an uncomfortable environment for some students, teachers, and parents. According to Gius (2017), weapons create an easy environment for shootings and victimization. Therefore, the safety of all actors in the school environment is important, which some argue would be enhanced by the presence of licensed guns in the classroom.

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From a logical perspective, the imposition on the teachers to carry guns to school would not help increase the students’ safety in various ways. However, following past experiences with guns, the fear associated with the weapon, and the presence of other ways to protect the students, the teachers, students, and parents are yet to welcome the move fully. The initiative allowing teachers to carry guns to school is a failure and is counterproductive to the essence of enhancing stringent security measures.

The Gun Fear factor

Guns create a risky environment for teachers and students. No doubt, a gun would enhance the safety of the students when the teachers use it rightfully, especially in hostile situations. The teachers are trained on how effectively to use the gun in necessary instances. The gun control training help educate the teachers on the appropriate ways and instances of using the firearm. The fear of using a firearm develops as the teachers may, while using the firearm in a hostile situation, injure themselves or innocent students due to the adrenaline reaction escalation (Johnson, 2013). In teaching, escalated violence may ensue between a student and teacher and result in firearm use. Some teachers are not mentally equipped to welcome the idea of a gun in class. The accidental use of the firearm that could lead to injuries or fatalities is a limitation for the use of the weapon. Teachers with guns would no doubt enhance the security of students; however, the fear associated with using weapons outweighs the need for the same.

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Gun control requires high levels of training and funding. For teachers to be permitted to carry guns, they must be trained to handle the weapon and mentally process working with a gun. According to Webb & Levels (2014), the training of the teachers and the purchase of the weapons are expensive, given that schools have not allocated money for the arming of the faculty. Though supporting arming the teachers, school administrations face the challenge of funding the program. In addition, the increasing number of needs for the increasing number of students diverts the attention of the school administration to other methods of providing safety.

The Experience from Past School Shootings

From past school shooting experiences, the question of liability may arise when a firearm is used to protect the students from hostile intruders. According to Waseem et al. (2021), a teacher with a firearm may accidentally shoot and injure an innocent student while firing at the attacker. The accidental injury or fatality leads to the question of whether the teacher involved is liable and to what extent. The teacher’s liability may result in lawsuits against the school or the teacher for damages suffered. Subsequently, the teacher may lose their job. Liability also arises when the students can access the weapon carried by the teacher (Webbs & Levels, 2014). Therefore, school faculties should be vigilant on their security to enhance a well-regulated campus carry initiative.

Using guns increases the probability of developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among teachers and students. People exposed to past shootings develop trauma in the sight of guns. Teachers are no different. The development of the trauma breeds negativity that minimizes the number of teachers willing to carry a gun to school. In addition, students may develop trauma following the weapon’s visibility, creating an uncomfortable environment for some. The school administrations, teachers, and parents often advocate for other ways to provide security, such as well-equipped security guards. The mental health of victims of shootings is compromised, which creates a necessity to avoid weapons in classrooms.

Conclusion

Schools are essential societal environments that should improve students’ academic intelligence rather than expose them to risks. After several schools have experienced violent shootings, schools around the country are adapting to allow teachers to carry guns to enhance safety in the school. However, there is a reluctance to do so as the imposition is not favourable to everybody leading to the failure in compliance with the same. As per Elliot (2015), the evident disadvantages generated from the idea should ensure that the government and schools advocate for other methods of providing student safety. Moreover, allowing guns in a classroom does not prevent instances of future attacks.

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  1. Elliott, R. (2015). The real school safety debate: Why legislative responses should focus on schools and not on guns. Ariz. L. Rev.57, 523.
  2. Gius, M.  (2018). The effects of state and Federal gun control laws on school shootings, Applied Economics Letters, 25:5, 317-320, DOI: 10.1080/13504851.2017.1319555
  3. Johnson, C. Ph. D (2013). Protecting America’s Students at School; School safety recommendations for 2013 and beyond
  4. Waseem, M., Morrissey, K., Nelsen, A., & Ata, A. (2021). 144 Should Teachers Carry Guns in Schools? An Emergency Department Survey of Parents’ Opinion and Potential Solutions. Annals of Emergency Medicine78(4), S58-S59. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annemergmed.2021.09.154
  5. Webb, M. A., & Levels, L. L. (2014). Safety in rural schools: Teachers as security guards. In National Forum Of Educational Administration and Supervision Journal (Vol. 32, No. 4, pp. 1-6).
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