Controversy over armed teachers


Jacob Dunskis, Columnist

Everyone has that safe place in their life: their grandmother’s kitchen, the library, or even their own bedroom. These safe places allow people to feel comfortable, safe, and secure. These places allow people to decompress, and express their emotions in a healthy way. For many people one safe place is their high school. Students may not always enjoy it, nor even like it half the time. But at the end of the day there is that one class you see your friends, or talk to your favorite teacher, or something that makes you feel like nothing bad can happen. What would happen though if someone carrying a gun entered the school? Entered someone’s safe place. Would it still be safe? This is a real concern as Oklahoma legislators have legalized conceal and carry in high schools by the staff.

The Joliet West Tiger Tales official Twitter account asked a poll on February 8, 2016 asking: Should teachers be allowed to conceal and carry inside high schools? The resulted came in two days later saying 69% of voters said no teachers should not be able to, and 31% of voters said yes teachers should be able to. With over 150 votes this does not cover the entirety of Joliet West nor all of Twitter. However, it shows a dynamic that leans towards the population believing that teachers should not be able to carry guns in school.

It seems like this is also the dynamic in Okay, Oklahoma, the town where conceal and carry inside high schools was legalized. The school released a statement that roughly five percent of staff and faculty members are either carrying a gun or keeping a gun in a locked box in the classroom. As the new law requires there are signs posted around campus stating “Attention Please be aware that certain staff members at Okay Public Schools can be legally armed and may use whatever force is necessary to protect our students.”  This has caused a lot of controversy in Okay where parents, teachers, and townspeople are expressing their worry about how the previous safe environment of a school has now just gotten more deadly.

Not everyone is against the idea of teachers carrying guns however. As 31% of our voters showed some people believe it to be a good idea. The side that supports the conceal and carry of firearms uses arguments that this is to secure the environment better. As school shootings have been at an all-time high in recorded history it is easy to see why some people might be nervous, and a quick google search shows no history of a armed robber ever purposely attempting to rob an arms store and succeeding. This could be the next step in safety, acting as a prevention measure to stop school shootings in their tracks.

The opposing side says that while that may be true the law is simple. No armed persons on federal property. Having a gun hidden in a classroom could cause someone to try and get it or even worse take the gun from the teacher by force. This is a scary thought in which a shooter here would simply just get more guns as they went through the school, or someone who before could not get a gun now has the opportunity to steal one. There are too many ‘What ifs’ to make many people feel comfortable with this topic.

True safety is defined as the feeling of comfort, ease, and security at the location where you are. Is this measure true safety then? Will this measure allow people to enjoy school more without the fear of a school shooting or will it do the opposite and strike fear into everyone that enters that building? Only time will tell.