Guns for Teachers

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Design Editor Elijah Collins

In October 2018, the Tamaqua School District was set to be the first school district in Pennsylvania to allow teachers to carry guns. Due to the number of school shootings in the past years which caught administrator’ attention, which then resulted in staff members being armed.

This plan could potentially drive students to fear their teachers, and harm the student-teacher relationship.

Frank Wenzel, the head of the teachers union over at Tamaqua, stated, “I do not believe teachers are equipped to carry weapons. I do not believe that teachers entered the profession thinking that someday they may have to use [a] deadly force. I understand that teachers want to and will protect their students, I just do not believe that this is a responsibility we should be taking on.”

The teachers who will be carrying guns are going to remain anonymous, but this still doesn’t sound right to Damien Williams ‘22, a student at Franklin Learning Center. Williams expresses that she just wants “to go to school and learn”. She says, “I don’t want to go to school and have to put my life in danger every time I go.” 

The vice principal of FLC, Mr. Wilson, felt the same way. He can’t “imagine how the students would feel thinking that their teacher [have] a gun, they would be terrified.”

This new plan is supposed to reduce the number of school shootings, but will it really help?

Mr. Fusco, a Physics and Physical Science teacher at FLC, stated that “this won’t help stop school shootings if anything it will increase them. I think we should do a better job at making sure the guns don’t get into schools, to begin with.”

Mr. Wenzel agrees, “What if the teacher makes a mistake and drops the weapon and it goes off? What if the teacher draws the weapon in a situation that doesn’t warrant that kind of reaction? What if the teacher is forced to draw the weapon and injures someone else? How can we be positive that the staff chosen to have this responsibility are mentally prepared for the responsibility? What if the teacher doesn’t react at all to a situation?”

Many have spoken out that they don’t really see any advantages to the plan, other than a teacher getting really lucky and taking down the attacker. To them, issues would still arise.

“I believe the proposed plan is a dangerous one. I would rather hire someone with a lifetime of experiences using a weapon to serve and protect than train a few individuals that may occasionally target shoot to the do the job of protecting our schools,” explains Mr. Wenzel.

Teachers that will be able to carry guns are going to have to go through training, but Mr. Fusco and Mr. Wenzel think that this whole plan is just a bad idea.

Mr. Fusco said “Students will become fearful of their teachers, and not in a good way, in a fear for your life type of way.”

Mr. Wenzel feels as though this is an ill-advised plan. “Some students would feel less secure knowing a teacher would be carrying a weapon.  Not knowing who was protecting them would cause them to think that maybe someone who they wouldn’t trust is the one carrying the weapon, therefore, making them feel less safe.”

This plan could potentially drive students to fear their teachers, and harm the student-teacher relationship.

Mr. Wenzel concludes by saying that “school is supposed to be a place where I feel safe, and by allowing teachers to have guns, you take away that feeling of a safe environment, and if they do pass the law, then I can’t imagine how the students over there will feel.”

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