Do You Feel Safe?

Doriana Lacitignola, Staff Writer

I am a student at Clifton High School. Every time I set foot in this building, I fear that any step could be my last. With the recent school shootings in Florida and Alabama, there has been a surge of support for gun control and regulation. A popular argument being disputed upon is whether teachers should be armed in the classroom. I feel strongly that teachers should not be armed. Adding more guns to the situation will make it worse not better. Whoever thought handing untrained teachers guns was a good idea… well, you get the point.

Let’s say for argument’s sake that each teacher was given the proper instruction needed to safely operate a firearm. The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) reports that there are just over 3.6 million teachers in the United States. Shooting lessons do not come cheap. I found a site online that charges a flat fee of $185 an hour for a lesson. Let’s say that each teacher needs roughly 3 hours to get acclimated with a gun and feel comfortable shooting it. This means that it would cost roughly $1,998,000,000 to train every teacher. However, 3 hours will not give you the precision and accuracy that comes with constant practice. In a Quora discussion on how long it takes the average person to become proficient with a gun, the estimated answer is around 40 hours and 1500 rounds.

Where would this money come from? $1,998,000,000 is not pocket change. President Trump openly aired his support on his Twitter account. This leads us to believe the federal government might get involved and implement a law in which arming a teacher is mandatory. The US is a debtor nation with approximately $19.84 trillion owed. How does arming teachers fit into our budget? Even if the arming of teachers was dealt with on a state or local level, the money to do so is virtually nonexistent. Clifton High is underfunded as it is. Enforcing this idea would be emptying our already empty coffers.

This idea, while outlandish and vastly disapproved of by many teachers, is still gaining traction. The harsh reality is students simply won’t feel safe as long as teachers are armed. And teachers won’t feel safe as well. Josh Grubs, a college professor and long-time gun owner uploaded his two cents on Twitter on February 21, 2018. Grubs felt that while being a decent shot, he was not capable of safely and capably defending a classroom. He went on to say if he felt he couldn’t, how would other teachers feel without any of his training?  There is also the very real possibility of a stray bullet hitting a student. A gun is no laughing matter. No matter how skilled or proficient you are, a firearm is still a firearm. Dangerous.

We should not be focusing on how to arm teachers; we should be focusing on how to protect students. Students should walk through the halls worrying about assignments and tests, not gunmen. Gun control must be closely regulated and monitored. Metal detectors should be placed in front of every doorway and entrance. Security should be increased. The safety and protection of our students should be paramount. Instead of passing around unconventional ideas about student safety, we should be doing something about it. Just as President Franklin D. Roosevelt said “It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something”