The Parkland safety commission has issued its draft report. Spoiler alert: Teachers should be armed.
Die Hard, teachers. Maybe Hollywood will celebrate you in a film.
The hero myth dies hard. It makes for a good movie, but it has no place in reality.
Every day, two or three minutes before the dismissal bell, I open my door and scan the hallway to make sure it is safe for me to allow my students to leave my room. If a red dot appears on my chest, I will have a brief microsecond to shout to the kids to pull my body into the room and lock down.
When the fire alarm sounds, I tell my students to stay in their seats until I go to the door, examine the hallway, and decide it is safe to leave. I would be very suspicious of smoke in the hallway because there is nothing in the hallway that would burn and fill it with smoke.
But politicians and people who don’t work in schools don’t know reality. They respond to political passions and the Hollywood mentality of the hero teacher.
In reality, that teacher would be killed long before they could stop a killer.
No crawling through elevators, no background music swelling to a climax.
High noon in the hallway. Die hard, teachers.
Or maybe we could get serious about stopping school violence. Maybe we could enact reasonable gun regulations. The second amendment was a political sop even in its day of adoption. The politicians knew that the citizen’s militia was a failure in winning the revolution. Only when George Washington organized and trained a disciplined army with the help of Lafayette, Kosciuszko, and Pulaski (yes, you knew about the Frenchman but didn’t know two Polish generals were also important in advising Washington) was he able to put an army into the field that was capable of outmaneuvering Cornwallis and winning independence at Yorktown.
But the newly independent citizens wanted a guarantee of gun ownership and they got it.
Let’s be serious. You’re not going to stop a Russian or Chinese army storming up your driveway under any scenario with any weapon.
Reasonable gun control laws would allow people to own guns but not with military-grade firepower because that is not needed for self-defense.
Why can’t we agree about this? That would go a long way to eliminating the mass murders we experience every month.
As for arming teachers, there are many issues beginning with liability for school districts. What happens when an armed teacher is jostled in a crowded hallway and the weapon fires? What happens if a teacher has a mental breakdown and pulls the weapon on students? What happens if an armed intruder is on campus and the teacher fails to respond?
We make school a safe place for students. If teachers are carrying guns, even if only one teacher is carrying a gun, school is no longer safe. It becomes one more environment for kids who experience or witness violence to fear it will happen there.
The tragedy of our times is that no one asks a teacher or if they do, they don’t listen.
Teachers say no. They won’t carry guns.
Die Hard may be a good movie, but it isn’t suitable for schools.
Don’t arm teachers.