Along with the debate for having armed security in schools as a well of preventing school shootings, the idea of arming teachers and training them to shoot has also been brought into the debate. Well, I’m a teacher and I wouldn’t want to carry a firearm around in school. For me it would feel just unnatural and for the record I am not a peace loving hippy, ok, maybe to an extent. I served in the US Marines and I learned to respect firearms. That doesn’t mean I want to carry one around with me all the time, especially working as a teacher.
Thinking about the school shooting that occurs in “He Was Weird,” I wonder if an armed teacher would have stopped Mark from carrying out the carnage he inflicted on that fateful day. I doubt it. When he began his shooting spree, it was still about 15 minutes before the start of school and being the last day, most teachers would have been in the staff room and not in the classrooms preparing for the day. Staff were only informed because one pupil managed to find an open door and slip in without being hit. Sure, the teachers might have drawn their weapons and gone in different directions looking for Mark, but they would not have found him until he inflicted more casualties. They might have shot him and saved lives but if they killed him, they would have done him a favour.
Another point about arming teachers comes to mind. The other day, I was working as a supply teacher in a secondary school where I had a Year 10 class that was completely uncooperative. Imagine, when a pupil refused to put their cell phone away when told, it would have been very tempting to draw on the pupil and force him to do so at gun point. Of course, the child may have called my bluff and got more defiant. Would that defiance cause enough stress in my mind to make me pull the trigger? Think of the headlines, “Teacher Shoots Pupil For Having Cell Phone Out.” Parents would have sued and pulled their children out and I would be facing life in prison. I’m not saying I would have definitely done this or would any teacher but the idea is creepy enough for me. Some stressed out teacher, faced with a class of unruly children, snaps and then BANG! Actually, this has given me an idea for a short story.
One example has already come out as a novel. Simon Lelic’s book “Rupture” is about a teacher who goes into a school and shoots dead three pupils and a colleague before shooting himself. Say that teacher was allowed to carry a gun around while on duty. His main antagonist would have had a bullet put through him a lot sooner in the school year and it would have changed the whole scope of the story. That is why I don’t think it’s a good idea to arm teachers.
One more thing and it is very possible. Say a student manages to get a teacher’s gun. The results could be catastrophic. There was a very recent shooting of a teacher in Russia by a pupil because the teacher had given the pupil a bad grade. If that can happen, then it is just as likely for a pupil to get a teacher’s gun and shoot the teacher and other pupils.
Linking up some of the things I’ve written about here. The second class I taught that day were much better behaved so I wouldn’t have needed a gun. In fact, I read them part of “He Was Weird” at the end of the lesson and they loved it. The school is interested in having me in to talk about the book and how bullying inspired me to write it.
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