Rethinking armed teachers

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That was until the last Eagle Hour
Posted Monday, April 23, 2018 - 10:36pm

The increase in school shootings and consequential media coverage led people to propose possible solutions. One concept proposed is arming teachers to better protect and deter a would-be shooter.

My knee-jerk reaction was to be against this concept. It seemed like a traditional “fight fire with fire” bad idea. After that, I did not give much thought to the idea.

That was until the last Eagle Hour. Eagle Hours are monthly debates hosted by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion covering a wide range of topics. The last Eagle Hour, mediated by Veronica Tita, focused specifically on guns on the USU Eastern campus. The nature of the topic brought the conversation to teachers having guns.

Hearing the differing views on this topic forced me to revisit the my opinion on it.

Teachers are citizen’s just as much as you and I. They have the right to feel safe too. With the increase of shootings, many of them do not feel safe with the possibility of facing an armed attacker with nothing in their bag of tricks, but huddling in the corner with their students. Being armed is a real solution to this fear.

However, not all teachers feel safe with gun. For the most part, someone knows if they are comfortable enough to conceal carry. No teacher should be forced to hold on to a weapon if they know they don’t know how to use it. There should not be a government-issued mandate requiring teachers to go through training and bring a gun to school. Because at the end of the day, that will not make them or the students feel safe.

Students have a right to feel safe too. Teachers who chose to carry should be required to go through thorough training. The training has to go beyond a class setting. There needs to be an in depth, hands on portion of the training.

In order to receive a concealed firearms permit in Utah, a person must be over 21 and have “proof of good character” by the Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Identification. With a filled out application, basic identification documents, and $46, any resident who meets the requirements will have their permit in less than 60 days. There is no special training involved That is not enough training for anyone, in my opinion, but especially not those we entrust with watching our children.

While the idea of teachers having guns may shock many people, it is already a reality in Utah. Utah is one of the seven states in the United States that does not explicitly prohibit teachers from conceal carrying in schools.

Whether you agree with this particular policy or not, everyone can agree that school shootings are a problem. Take time as a citizen to explore the suggested policy changes. Think about the suggestions logically and set aside your knee-jerk reactions. If we take the time to vote with our heads, the policies that come forward will be more effective.

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