Should teachers be armed? | The Tylt

Should teachers be armed?

The New York Times is reporting the Education Department is contemplating using federal grant money to arm teachers. Education secretary Betsy DeVos has been a vocal proponent of arming teachers, saying during her confirmation hearing that some schools may want to have guns to protect from grizzly bears. Some claim arming teachers will help protect students and minimize fatalities. Others say having guns in schools will endanger schoolchildren and take time and money from helping students. What do you think?

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According to The New York Times, the Education Department has been studying the feasibility of allowing states to use federal grant money to arm teachers.

In its research, the Education Department has determined that the gun purchases could fall under improving school conditions, people familiar with the department’s thinking said. Under the current guidelines for that part of the grant, the department encourages schools to increase access to mental health counseling, establish dropout prevention programs, reduce suspensions and expulsions and improve re-entry programs for students transitioning from the juvenile justice system.
But the department began exploring whether to expand the use of the support grants after the school shootings in Parkland, Fla., and Santa Fe, Tex., prompted states to inquire about alternatives. Department officials were considering whether to issue guidance on the funding before the start of the new school year, but have been weighing the political and legal ramifications, according to people familiar with the discussions.

DeVos' office has since disputed the New York Times report, according to CNN

A senior administration official told CNN that the idea laid out in the Times report did not originate with the Department of Education or DeVos. That official said the department received a letter from the Texas state Department of Education asking if the funds from a federal grant program could be used to purchase firearms. It was circulated to departmental lawyers and researchers for guidance, according to the official. The department ultimately chose not to respond, the official said.
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Democratic leaders and educators were quick to push back against the proposal and DeVos herself.

“We knew Betsy DeVos would try to do the bidding of the National Rifle Association and the gun manufacturers, but to even consider diverting resources used to support poor kids to flood schools with more guns is beyond the recklessness we believed she was willing to pursue,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, fumed, “Teachers don’t want guns. They know it makes them a target if, God forbid, a shooter comes into the school. And now, Secretary DeVos wants to take federal funds away from instruction so that the school district can buy guns for teachers. What is that all about? What recklessness. What absurdity.”
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The Trump administration has previously shown enthusiasm for the idea of arming teachers in classrooms. President Trump made his feelings known at a meeting at the White House shortly after the killing of 14 students and three adults at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Per The New York Times

President Trump on Thursday enthusiastically embraced a National Rifle Association position to arm highly trained teachers to fortify schools against mass shootings like the one last week. Mr. Trump, who said the armed teachers should receive extra pay as an incentive, promoted his idea as demands for stronger gun control intensified across the country.
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While there have been no long-term studies of whether arming teachers can dramatically reduce the number of school shootings or fatalities, a 2016 study from Johns Hopkins indicates that arming civilians does not appear to increase public safety. Per Mother Jones

From 1966 to 2015, only 12 percent of 111 high-fatality mass shootings in the United States—at college campuses or elsewhere—took place in “gun free” zones, and only 5 percent took place in “gun restricted” zones, where security guards were armed but civilians were banned from carrying weapons. Another analysis, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, drew similar conclusions: Only 13 percent of mass shootings from 2009 to 2015 occurred in gun-free or gun-restricted zones. What’s more, allowing people to carry concealed weapons has been connected with an increase in violent crime, according to researchers at the Brennan Center for Justice. They noted a 10 percent average increase in violent crime in states that adopted right-to-carry laws.
...Separate research from the FBI shows similar results. The bureau looked at 160 active-shooter situations from 2000 to 2013 and found only one case where an armed civilian intervened to stop an attack that was underway. (And that civilian was a US Marine.) In 21 cases, an unarmed civilian interrupted the attack and restrained the gunman. In other words, unarmed civilians were far more likely than those with guns to stop an active shooting in progress.
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The Washington Post reports some school districts have already adopted policies of arming teachers. 

David Thweatt, the superintendent of Harrold Independent School District in rural north Texas, said he supports schools using federal funds to buy firearms, even though his own district does not apply for the grants. He began a program to train and arm some school employees 11 years ago after a shooting at an Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania.
Staff members in the district that are part of the program purchase their own firearms and then are reimbursed. Their training, too, is covered by the district. Thweatt said it is an arrangement that is far cheaper than hiring a security guard.
He argued that buying firearms serves an educational purpose. “You have to make children feel secure. If they’re constantly looking over their shoulder, they’re not learning.”
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After the New York Times story was published, many lawmakers released statements saying they would never support such legislation.

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Communities that already arm their educators are currently happy with the plans they have in place. In Sidney, Ohio, the Sidney City School district has a multi-step program put in place to help protect students, which includes a "secret group of 40 educators — teachers, principals, custodians, secretaries — called a 'first responder team' that can retrieve firearms in under a minute." Per The New York Times: 

Rick Cron, the armed guard at Sidney Middle School, said he would put members of his team up against any law enforcement officer in Ohio. The state requires that officers fire 25 bullets a year; his team members shoot at least 600.
“It’s the teacher’s responsibility to protect the kids, no matter what, and they do it already,” Mr. Cron said, “but without the tools.”
Nicki New, the parent of three students in Sidney City Schools, said she felt safer dropping off her children knowing there were staff members equipped to respond to a parent’s worst nightmare.
“God forbid, if something would happen, knowing that not only a law enforcement officer is there, but there are teachers in that building who can give my child a fighting chance, is even more reassuring,” Ms. New said.
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Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, made his feelings known on Twitter.

FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Should teachers be armed?
#ArmTeachersNow
A festive crown for the winner
#NoGunsInSchools