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Teen Voices: Arming Our Teachers to Keep Our Kids Safe?

Teen Voice Carolyn Angiollo talks about recent school tragedies and the idea of arming teachers.

By Carolyn Angiolo

Palatine Patch Teen Voice 

Beginning with the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT that occurred on December 14 of 2012, new ideas about how to protect students on school grounds have emerged. One of the most controversial ideas involves arming teachers.

Rick Perry, the Republican governor of Texas, was among the first to suggest that teachers be allowed to carry firearms at school. Currently, there are 18 states that allow their educators to carry loaded guns. Senate bill 13-009 was recently passed in Colorado that allows teachers to have concealed hand guns (with a valid permit, of course). Obviously, school shootings are a major and terrible problem in America and something should be done to prevent more of them. However, is arming teachers really the best idea? I highly doubt that.

Oregon state representative Dennis Richardson has gone far enough to say that having armed teachers would have prevented the massacre in Connecticut. There are a lot of things that could have prevented this terrible massacre…but arming teachers is definitely not even in the top 20. Proper medical treatment for psychopaths, better background checks, a ban on assault weapons, a better school security system, a ban on all guns…all of these are superior to handing a gun to a teacher.

We trust teachers to educate our children. They are there to teach (novel concept seeing as “teach” is in their job title). Teachers are not hired to protect against armed assailants. As Ohio Sheriff Ralph D. Fizer Jr. said, “It’s nothing against the teachers or principals, but you cannot give them a 12-hour concealed carry course and then put them in the school with a loaded firearm and expect them to do what’s right in a bad situation. That’s not going to happen. There could be a lot of innocent people that get hurt.” Quite frankly, the little sheriff from Ohio is completely right. A little course on how to aim and slip in some bullets isn’t going to give an average teacher a good enough understanding on firearms, safety, or how to protect a class of 20 screaming, terrified children with a deadly weapon.

Since Columbine in 1999, there have been 60 school shootings across the United States (that’s double the rate from the previous decade). 181 people, including children, teenagers, and teachers, have died in these shootings. Clearly something needs to be done. When there is a problem, isn’t it generally a good idea to attack the problem at the source? You don’t really want to add to the problem. You just want to get rid of it. Guns are clearly the problem here. Guns are what are killing our students and our teachers. People like to argue that guns aren’t killing people, people are just killing each other with guns…in that case, cars drive drunk and pens misspell words. This is just another way for people to try and rid themselves of the burden of taking responsibility for their actions. I have a wonderful idea for you all. Why don’t we just we get rid of the problem and eliminate guns? Guns are clearly the issue here and instead of adding more guns to the mix by arming teachers, why don’t we just eliminate the guns that remain in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them? It really isn’t that complicated.

And if eliminating all guns is too radical or logical for your taste, then we should at least ban assault weapons. There is no reason for anyone to have an assault rifle of any sort. Instead of adding to the problem with more guns, why don’t we just get rid of the guns and get rid of the problem? It just makes sense.

Carolyn Angiollo is a junior at Palatine High School and a writer/editor for the Cutlass Newspaper at PHS. 

Diane February 25, 2013 at 08:29 PM
Thank you for a well written op-ed. Your points are are well taken and I agree completely. This is a difficult issue and there isn't one clear answer we will all agree on. But we can try to make things better. Universal background checks would not have stopped the shooter at Sandy Hook - that's true. But using that one example to say universal background checks won't help is a fallacy. Background checks stopped over 1.8 million illegal gun purchases since 1994 - and who can say for sure that crimes weren't prevented? Maybe, just maybe, when the sale didn't go through, that person had more time to think about making a better choice. What we know for sure, is that a felon or a mentally unstable person wanted to buy a gun, and they were stopped. How can that be a bad thing? Some felons will find ways to get guns anyway, but that's not a reason to keep it easy. How can we talk about responsible gun ownership and in the same breath talk about being against background checks? To me, felons forfeited their right to own a gun when they committed a crime and I can't imagine defending the rights of felons to purchase a gun legally.
Sodi Levin February 25, 2013 at 08:53 PM
Carolyn Angiollo thank you for taking the time to get an education and voicing your opinion! Bravo! C. Johnson said to read history and I need to agree with him. Plato stated "good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly and bad people will find ways around the laws."
Diane February 25, 2013 at 09:20 PM
Shall we just concede that we are powerless and defensless in the face of "bad people"?
Joyce S February 26, 2013 at 12:44 AM
Very well written, well thought out article. I completely agree with you. I think it's nonsense to say that more guns are the answer to gun violence. That clearly has not been helping this country. As a parent of elementary school kids, there is no way that I want nor expect teachers to be carrying guns in school. That's just a recipe for disaster.
Melanie Santostefano February 26, 2013 at 05:19 AM
Thank you all for your comments today. And thank you for showing Carolyn, an extremely sharp young women with a solid head on her shoulders and a bright future ahead, that we can agree to disagree at times, but remain dignified in representing our opinions on this very delicate subject. I too applaud Carolyn. She is a wonderful addition here on Palatine Patch, and provoked good conversation and thought through her extremely well written article. Melanie Santostefano Palatine Patch Editor

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