I am replying to the article entitled “Research: Armed teachers could reduce casualties,” published in March 1’s Exponent. The notion of equipping teachers in public schools to carry firearms and be prepared to use them against potential killers is sheer folly and misguided. Teachers should be allowed to focus attention exclusively on their teaching, a demanding enough responsibility as it is. There are several reasons not to give them weapons to employ in the classroom. Most teachers are not trained to shoot guns, and there always is the danger that the weapons might accidentally hit one of their students in trying to aim at a moving target. A gun carried by a teacher also could go off unintentionally, wounding the instructor and a pupil or pupils in the classroom. Knowing in advance that the teacher in a given space is armed might cause the invader to attack the teacher first and then turn to students.

Rather, it is the local police and professionally trained school guards who should bear the responsibility of defending students and disarming a potential outside shooter before a massacre occurs. Other preventive measures such as locking school doors and requiring adults and students to pass through electronic security before entering a school building can be undertaken, as is done in several districts across the country. Let us drop the idea of making teachers do the job that properly belongs to local law enforcement officers.

– David Parrish, Purdue professor of art history in the College of Liberal Arts

Recommended for you