The security of schools is a major priority for the administrative personnel in such institutions. As such, they are likely to employ different methods to strengthen the security situation in schools. One of the methods, which are likely, is that of arming the school staff with guns. Although, this may be a good step, there are numerous disadvantages associated with it. Therefore, the essay aims at addressing the demerits and problems that are likely to arise when guns are used to protect schools.
Secondly, the use of guns by school employees undermines the role played by police professionals who are highly trained and other public safety officials. Police officers take a long time to train in order for them to develop a life-safety mindset and become fully prepared to deal with criminals. Educators undergo a professional training that is very different from that of police officers and are hence unsuitable to handle guns (Fennelly, 2003). Therefore, suggesting that principals, teachers, custodians and the subordinate staff should train on how to handle, fire and holster a gun would mean that people who are not law-enforcement officers are not qualified to offer public safety services. This will cause demotivate police officers hence they will not work efficiently. It is understandable that cases of violence such as the Sandy Hook massacre that caused the death of 20 students during 2012 may have caused so much panic in schools. Even so, it is not enough reason for school employees to have guns. An intruder may not necessarily carry a gun; rather they may be in possession of other weapons. For instance, on the same day when the Sandy Hook tragedy occurred, an intruder stabbed 22 students in a school, in China. Therefore, guns are not ultimately the solution because in a situation where a criminal has a hidden knife it becomes difficult to save the lives of students in good time. In this regard, it is better to allow the police department to continue playing a protective role as it is much safer.
Thirdly, students’ insecurity will be heightened and the administrative personnel will incur more liabilities when their employees are armed with guns. It is possible for some employees can misplace the guns in their possession (Schapiro, 2009). Consequently, the students will become unsafe, as the guns may land in the hands of a student who lacks knowledge on how to handle guns. Such a student could accidentally fire and kill his classmate causing the school administration unnecessary liabilities. Even worse is that when a gun is lost it could land in the hands of a criminal who could use it to steal and kill in schools. This will mean that the aim of arming employees with guns will not be achieved because instead of protecting schools, they will pose a threat to the same institutions.
Some administrators, teachers, and even parents may argue that the handguns given to employees will be concealed and that strict procedures will be put implemented to monitor the way in which guns are carried around in school grounds. However, concealing guns does not guarantee that intruders or even will not gain access to guns. In fact, the opponents of this move may argue that one would rather be safe than sorry. Even so, administrators can choose the alternative of using school police department officers, School Resource Officers (SRO) and the school public safety officials (Lott, 2010). These methods are much safer than vesting the role of providing security on educators who have little or no experience on matters related to security.
Finally, school employees should not carry guns because they may be misused. (Schapiro, 2009) For example, a student who is aware that a teacher carries a handgun may take it and shoot a teacher for giving him a low grade. Schools have people from diverse backgrounds with some of them being short tempered. As such, a student who gets annoyed may take a gun and kill either the teacher or himself. It may seem unlikely, but a teacher who is temperamental or suffering from mental disorders could shoot a student over a small mistake.
It is not appropriate for school employees to be in possession of guns so they can protect schools. If school employees in every institution are to have guns then the number of firearms in the public domain would increase greatly. Consequently, incidences of crime would increase because more arms at the disposal of the public will result to more deaths. Even worse is that these guns can be stolen, misused, and cause unforeseen liabilities and deaths in schools. Therefore, school employees should stay free of weapons and allow police officers to continue doing their work. In this way, the quality of education in schools will remain high while, at the same time, they will be safer.
Fennelly, L. J. (2003). Handbook of Loss Prevention and Crime Prevention. Burlington: Elsevier.
Lott, J. R. (2010). More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Schapiro, R. A. (2009). Polyphonic federalism: Toward the protection of fundamental rights. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.