A Conversation Worth Stopping
by Josh Petteruti
Please stop considering arming our teachers.
I’ve yet to hear any developments from Congress or local government on actions that can be taken to combat mass shootings. I did, however, listen to President Trump’s panel in the State Dining Room where he fielded questions and concerns from the emotional victims of past school shootings. Which by the way, he would have failed in any EGHS oral presentation for reading everything off of a talking card. But that’s beside the point. The President made some very respectable suggestions. Mainly raising the purchase age from 18 to 21, enhancing the mental health portion of background checks, and banning bump stock attachments- all of which are long overdue and not guaranteed yet in any way. Still, one point soured the entire conversation.
“If you had a teacher who was adept with the firearm, they could end the attack very quickly…”
This, along with potentially installing metal detectors and even finding the funding for more police officers standing guard, are all backward steps in a conversation that is slowly morphing into a submissive show of force. I say ‘submissive’ because admitting that we need to fight fire with fire and turn our schools into maximum security buildings indicates that we can’t stop school shootings. Approaches like this admit that we think these atrocities are inevitable and that our only course of action is to react to them like military firefights rather than preventing them in the first place. It is a last resort, and as a student, this sort of measure is extremely troubling. I don’t want to search my bag every morning to make sure there is nothing that could possibly sound an alarm. I don’t want to pass by multiple armed guards on my way to art class. And I don’t want the atmosphere of schools, one meant to be nurturing and peaceful, to turn fearful and suspicious.
I would prefer if that hypothetical funding, which is already impractical for most school districts, be put into ensuring that a school resource officer and school psychologist are always readily available to students, to treat mental health issues with the professional input needed. This, along with the common sense gun legislation of raising the purchase age, enhancing background checks, and banning bump stock attachments, would be more than enough to retain a sense of peace and security in our schools. For further assurance, semi-automatic assault rifles could be banned altogether. But the deep pockets of the NRA and their grip on Congress make this option highly unlikely, no matter how many kill count records assault rifles manage to break.
At the end of the day, one thing is certain. The conversation to arm teachers is indicative of one inconvenient truth: we have failed.