Schools should steer clear of ill-conceived movement to arm staff members

January 27, 2016 — by Vivien Zhang and Julia Miller

Fifty-two shootings, 30 deaths, 53 injured — and that’s just in the past year, according to CNN.

School shootings have increased drastically in the U.S., forcing legislators to figure out solutions for an increasingly dangerous problem. One solution is taking place in some school districts in Ohio, Kansas, Tennessee and South Dakota,  where supports has grown for laws that allow staff members to carry concealed weapons on campus in case of an emergency.

Recently, Fox 8 News reported that in Ohio, dozens of schools have already begun arming staff members. They are undergoing intensive training by the Faculty Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response (FASTER) program.

FASTER is a free, non-profit organization created by the Buckeye Firearms Association that teaches teachers how to act if ever confronted by a potentially dangerous intruder and how to stop an attacker while minimizing casualties.

The instructors administer drills with varying scenarios involving gunmen and guide them through the quick decisions one must make while proceeding through the simulation.

Although only three states have approved of this new strategy, many others are considering adopting the policy and are open to any new ideas revolving around the issue of school shootings.

But for the sake of the students and teachers alike, high schools should firearms in the hands of actual law enforcement; these schools should instead find safer ways to keep intruders away.

Putting firearms in the classroom will only result in further tragedies by, for example, giving students an easier way of illegally obtaining guns and causing even more school shootings.

Although keeping guns in classrooms allows for faster response to danger on school campuses, it could intimidate students and make them feel uncomfortable and, ironically, unsafe in their school environments.

There are other ways schools can approach school shooting situations. Instead of having concealed firearms in the classroom, students can be taught to throw classroom objects, such as chairs or tables, at the intruder.

This tactic would even be more effective, because instead of having a shootout between the teacher and intruder that could potentially injure students, the intruder would be more threatened by thrown furniture than by one terrified teacher with a gun and students uselessly hiding behind a barricade.

Furthermore, teachers should not be forced to put themselves in danger by confronting the intruder. Teachers are not responsible for student lives at the expense of their own in the event of a school shooting.

And overall, guns are not only a danger in school, they are also a danger within the household. A recent study through Mother Jones that shows 30 years of homicide rates reveals that a 1 percent increase of gun ownership in a state results in a one percent increase in that state’s homicide rate. Homes that carry firearms have a much higher rate of gun death, whether it be from homicide or suicide, than households without them.

While schools are making the correct decision in implementing new methods in an attempt to protect students from danger, there are better options than imposing intensive responsive training onto the faculty members and providing firearms, which could possibly leave a school even more susceptible to dangers and unneeded deaths.