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. 

CaB February 25, 2013 at 01:57 PM
Totally, completely agree with you.
C. Johnson February 25, 2013 at 03:05 PM
In a perfect world were people are honest, responsible for their own actions and have respect for the laws of man you would be right. We however don't live in Utopia. Here are a few questions to ask yourself. How many armed teachers in Texas have ever used their weapons to harm anyone? If you answer none, it's not because they have a gun it's because they are responsible, stable people. Were the guns that Adam Lanza used registered to him? No, therefore a background check was never done, never would have been done because he was not the legal owner of the gun. How many murders in the city of Chicago last year were carried out with legally obtained guns? If you were home alone and three masked men broke into your home with illegal guns and knives what would you do? Scream, try to find your whistle, urinate on yourself, call 9-1-1 knowing they are at least 4 minutes away? Dihydrogen-monoxide kills more people than all the guns in the world, yet it is hardly regulated and freely available. I know that's a stupid argument, but so too is the whole gun-control argument. It's not Utopia and the sooner you figure that out the better off you will be. On a more personal note, keep writing and good luck with school.
Ben Hebebrand February 25, 2013 at 03:21 PM
Dear Carolyn: I want to congratulate you for writing such a well-written, well-organized, and well-researched op-ed. I appreciate young people such as yourselves taking the time to research an issue and then formulating an opinion and sharing it in a thoughtful manner. Well-done!
Bucephalus February 25, 2013 at 03:34 PM
Really? You're going to chide her for living in a utopia and then pull out the stupid "water kills more than guns" argument? There's a reason water is freely available: it is essential for life. Perhaps you can tell me how firearms are essential to living? There is a difference between those things essential to living (food, water, oxygen) and those things you want (guns, money, etc.). That why there are two words for essentials and luxuries. One is essential, the other not. Let's not chide this young writer for being in a utopia while we simultaneously try to obfuscate the discussion with our own notions and ideologies.
C. Johnson February 25, 2013 at 03:46 PM
Bucephalus - maybe using water was the wrong example. Let's try this; cars, alcohol, cigarettes, shall I go on? All according to your argument those items are luxuries. All have the potential to cause death. Using Ms. Angiolo argument of banning an object coupled with your argument of luxuries all above stated objects should also be banned. It's not the object, it's the behavior of the person with the object. Whether it be a car, a bottle of booze, a knife or a gun.
Roman G. Golash February 25, 2013 at 03:58 PM
The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Our schools need armed teachers and administrators who have extensive prior military experience. The districts need to provide time for the teachers to go to the range to maintain good muscle memory.
G February 25, 2013 at 04:23 PM
Eliminating guns is like taking away the trees thinking that will stop making the wind. I'm sorry Carolyn - I applaud your articulate writing, but the issue is how we treat people. Treating each and every person like they matter in the world and are connected to us is more important. Parenting our children and teaching them values, particularly of others and of the miracle of human life, is more important. Let's focus on treating each and every person with dignity and respect, let's lose the sense of personal entitlement and replace that with connectedness and vulnerability. That's what's going to stop the hurting, the woundedness, the brokenness that leads to acts of violence and evil. Let's make God, other people, and the world our center instead of ourselves as our center.
Bucephalus February 25, 2013 at 05:41 PM
Cigarettes are banned from many places with high taxes on them to discourage consumption. Likewise for alcohol. Automobiles are registered, regulated, and to drive one you must pass a proficiency test. However, automobiles and, to a lesser extent, alcohol are very different from a gun. A gun has one purpose: to injure a living object. There is no alternative purpose. Deaths from guns are the intended result. Deaths from automobiles are a sad and secondary side effect.
Bucephalus February 25, 2013 at 05:49 PM
Roman, you really should try and do a hair of research before you rant your untrue facts. It has been all of two months since a bad guy with a gun was stopped by an unarmed teacher without further loss of life. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/11/taft-high-school-shooting_n_2453871.html
C. Johnson February 25, 2013 at 05:52 PM
Bucephalus - Cigarettes are not banned and high taxes don't discourage they encourage theft. Alcohol is not banned except to minors who can still get it anytime they want and a proficiency test is not needed to drive a car, ask any uninsured, undocumented, underage kid involved in an accident. Where do you come up with this stuff? A gun has one purpose: to injure a living object. I'll give you that one as I would rather have a gun at my disposal if someone breaks into my home as opposed to a whistle, or urinating on myself or any of the other "progressive" ideas floating around. When seconds count the police are only minutes away. Pray for the lambs as they will be devoured by the wolves.
Bucephalus February 25, 2013 at 06:15 PM
Mr. Johnson, I was hoping this would remain an intelligent discussion, in deference to Carolyn's article. However, as you are unwilling to rationally discuss things, I will say good day and stop this. Your caricaturization of liberals and absurd ignoring of common laws (some might even say reality) makes any further discussion pointless. You aren't going to listen to my claims or arguments, and I will likewise not listen to trivial insults and strawman arguments.
C. Johnson February 25, 2013 at 06:37 PM
Bucephalus - thank you for the kind wish of a nice day and the same to you. I have listened to your arguments and have stated a counter point. Common laws state thou shalt not commit murder, yet it happens. Additionally I used the term progressive and not liberal. There is a difference. A liberal wants to use taxpayer money to better society, to which I concur. A progressive wishes to use Government to enforce their set of rules on the general citizens, much like many of the anti-gun proposals floating around. Gun control is people control plain and simple. Read history especially German history beginning in 1932 up to 1940, gun control, control of the press, propaganda. Being a student and teacher of history Bucephalus is a powerful name one that not many know. To you, have a good day.
Kathryn February 25, 2013 at 07:48 PM
Thank you, Carolyn. Hopefully more of your generation will understand the need for regulation of gun possession, and these tragedies will no longer occur. At the very least, guns, ammunition and the people who use them should be as regulated as cars and the people who drive them: registration, certified instruction, testing, insurance, taxes, and limitations on extreme weapons and ammunition in addition to background checks on all sales and transfers. People who feel they have a legitimate reason to own and use guns should have no objections to safety precautions.
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 (Editor) 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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