Opinion: Don’t expect teachers to be back-up cops when the shooting begins | Opinion

Teachers are trained to uplift young minds, not to take down people wielding assault weapons who burst into their classrooms with the intent of committing mass murder.

This is the job of the police, who are trained and protected with bulletproof vests to confront and arrest dangerous people. But it was hard to say that to officers in Uvalde, Texas, who dithered outside a classroom at Robb Elementary School last week for more than an hour rather than storm the door and stop the slaughter inside. Could they have saved any of the 19 children and two teachers killed if they had acted sooner, as the parents urged the police to do? Instead, the police stopped the parents from rushing into the school to try to save the children themselves.

It was not the first time that law enforcement personnel trained to save lives in violent situations shirk their duty during a school shooting. During the 2018 murder of 14 students and three adults at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, eight officers waited outside for at least 10 minutes while the shooting continued inside. One officer later resigned following heavy criticism and another was placed on administrative leave. The school’s armed resources officer – a former deputy sheriff – stayed outside for 40 minutes, never entering during the shooting. He will be tried in September for neglect of a child causing serious bodily harm.

So why on earth do some Texas Republicans think the answer is to arm teachers and administrators?

“We can potentially arm, prepare and train teachers and other administrators to respond quickly,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told Fox News hours after the shooting.

U.S. Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, told reporters last week, “If individual school districts want to train teachers to use firearms in this situation, then I think that’s something they may consider,” according to the New Republic.

If people who are equipped and trained to protect and serve in dangerous situations cannot be relied upon, it is absurd to think that teachers could do better. They are equipped and trained to explain math, reading, and history to students, not to stop the deadly gunfire that plagues our public schools. In Uvalde, teachers slammed the doors to protect their students. The two who were shot allegedly attempted to serve as body shields for children in their classrooms.

Proponents of gunning teachers ignore teachers themselves, most of whom want nothing to do with guns in the classroom. Several states, including Texas, already allow individual school districts to allow teachers to carry guns. Only 300 teachers in Texas have done so, less than one in 1,000. Both the Texas State Teachers Association and the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers’ union, oppose arming teachers. A 2019 survey by Cal State Northridge of 2,926 teachers found that 95% said no to the idea. Most teachers thought it would make schools more dangerous.

They might well be right. The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence has tracked nearly 100 cases of dangerously mishandled guns on campus, including a teacher’s loaded gun falling from his belt while performing a cartwheel; a student grabbing an officer’s gun; and a teacher accidentally firing a gun in class during a safety demonstration.

Do these delusional members of the GOP imagine that colleges of education will require handgun training, with weekly target practice sessions for teachers on the school playground? Do they also imagine paying teachers at the same level as police officers, whose higher salaries are justified by the vagaries of the job?

Let’s not forget that the police have bulletproof vests when they encounter people with guns. Teachers, unless they were remarkably fast, agile and formidable shooters, would be vulnerable to the first bullet fired as well as the daily stress of trying to ensure that students did not have access to the pistol. the class.

We do not expect the police to step in as substitute teachers at all times and explain algebraic theory. It is ludicrous to require teachers to become substitute police officers in the rare event of an active shooter in their school. The job of teachers is to prepare children for adult life. Let them do this without adding the responsibility of being an “armed against mass murderer officer” to the job description.

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