Arming teachers with baseball bats does not solve America’s school safety issue

Megan Lafond, Staff Writer

As a future teacher and current volunteer at many schools in the surrounding area, reading the never-ending articles about what will be done to protect teachers and students anger me more and more.

For instance, the Millcreek Township School District in Erie County, Pa. decided to spend $1800 on baseball bats to arm its 500 teachers. Superintendent William Hall told the Washington Post, “We had basically adopted the ‘just lock the doors and turn the lights out and hide’ approach in terms of the response. … [The modified plan] includes not just hiding but also running and, as a last resort, having to fight as necessary.”

Through this announcement, Hall is telling his teachers that they will have to be physical in the event of a school shooting. Is this really the message that superintendents want to be sending to their teachers? To be ready to fight?

Teachers didn’t join their profession to be caught in the middle of a political battle of gun laws in the United States, but it seems like now it is only the beginning of this discussion. Should teachers be armed with guns, baseball bats or nothing at all? As a proponent of arming teachers with more books and resources for their classrooms rather than spending money on weapons for schools across the nation, I think policy makers are only becoming more incompetent. To me, it seems foolish for Hall to think that providing his employees and teachers with baseballs bats as symbolism of “fighting back and staying strong” would empower them.

Teachers are human beings that have beliefs and opinions all of their own. Is it fair to place laws that force those who entered their profession of teaching our future generations to do and own something they don’t believe they should?

Many teachers have never shot a gun, never want to shoot a gun, and definitely do not want them in their classrooms full of innocent children. USA Today interviewed Kansas English teacher Olivia Bertles who responded to the idea of arming teachers by saying that “the vast majority of school personnel are uninterested in carrying a weapon into a building full of hundreds or thousands of children each day.”

“Those desires are not being reflected in the tone-deaf suggestions being made by lawmakers as a solution to America’s gun problem,” Bertles said.

Schools should be a place of learning, self-reflection and most importantly, comfort. Unfortunately, school shootings are always sitting in the backs of our minds, but buying more guns is not the answer. The answer is regulating the ownership and purchase of guns. Money can be spent on resources for fostering childhood growth, rather than placing fear in the minds of students that a gun exists somewhere in their classroom.

Obviously, something must be done to prevent future school shootings. But ask yourself, before you take a stance on arming teachers, how you would feel if all of your co-workers had guns, or even baseball bats, hiding somewhere in their offices or cubicles right next to yours. How comfortable would you feel? Now imagine children feeling that way…

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