Recently, The Gallup Panel focused on an issue that is a hot political issue for many: gun control and teachers. On Valentine’s Day, 2018, a former Parkland student killed 17 people and wounded 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Since that day, gun control has dominated the national news cycle, with media outlets releasing daily articles, reports and broadcasts on the topic.
Gallup noted that, as a group, teachers are twice as likely to identify as a Democrat rather than Republican, which would influence their opinions about gun safety.
On March 22, 2018, NPR published an article titled “Poll: Most U.S. Teachers Want Gun Control, Not Guns to Carry.” The piece cited data from a Panel survey of teachers, fielded in March, which said nearly three-fourths of U.S. teachers do not want to carry guns in school and teachers favor gun control over security steps to make schools safer.
Panel survey results showed that 73% of teachers opposed training teachers and staff to carry guns in school, with 63% strongly opposed to it. Additionally, seven in 10 teachers said arming teachers would be ineffective in limiting casualties in a shooting.
Poll data also included responses to an open-ended question where respondents were asked to name one thing that could be done to prevent school shootings. The most popular answer was gun control or stricter gun laws, followed by calling for a ban on specific guns. One in five called for better mental health services and 15% favored better school security. Only 7% wanted to arm teachers.
Regarding preparedness, 60% of teachers described their schools as “very” or “somewhat” prepared and protected. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that over nine in 10 public schools conduct active shooter drills. A majority of teachers, 64%, state they are “not too worried” or “not worried at all” about being the victim of a school shooting, and 55% claim their students feel the same way.
This is the battle supporters of the Second Amendment face, teachers who think keeping guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens will magically stop mentally insane criminals from committing these atrocities. Teachers who believe active shooter drills are enough to be prepared. While I do believe the drills are important, I fear they may be as effective in protecting students as the “hide under your desk” drill we used to do to practice for a nuclear attack in the 1970s.
Furthermore, I am concerned that 70% teachers do not even trust their fellow teachers to protect the students and staff. Do they really think one School Resource Officer is enough? What about New York City Schools where the Mayor recently pulled all School Resource Officers, wildly inflating the cost to justify the action.
The most popular answer was gun control or stricter gun laws, followed by calling for a ban on specific guns. How can academia be so “educated” yet so blind to logic and reality. The gun is an inanimate object; it did not commit the crimes. Individuals bent on committing murder, not to mention mass murder, are not going to be dissuaded by laws. If one weapon or device is not available, they will do the same damage with another.
A majority of teachers, 64%, state they are “not too worried” or “not worried at all” about being the victim of a school shooting, and 55% claim their students feel the same way. At least the students have more of an awareness of the danger than the teachers, but for how long? Will the politics and political beliefs of the teachers eventually spill into the young minds of our children?
In the West they have earthquake drills, in the Midwest tornado drills. Am I worried about the possibility of a natural disaster? Yes. Not to the level of an active shooter because earthquakes are natural events, not a mentally disturbed individual. We harden buildings to withstand a tornado or survive an earthquake. Can teachers not comprehend that we need to the same against an active shooter? And that line of defense has to be with the adults closest to out children—namely teachers and staff? Why do they revere and celebrate teachers who sacrifice their body to shield children, but not take the responsibility to actually do something to protect them; a real form of protection that would keep both the teacher and student safe?
I do not think we legislate our way to safer schools or harden them to a point that we can prevent all atrocities. I do, however, like building codes so our schools have a better chance of withstanding an earthquake or tornado, think we can defend our children, make schools a hard target, and stop a school attacker, if more of our teachers are willing to set aside the politics and ‘educate’ themselves…
Do you agree with the teachers in the Gallup Study? What are your views about arming teachers to prevent or minimize future tragedies? Share your answers in the comment section.
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