First, we’d like to thank all the teachers, friends of teachers, spouses of teachers, retired teachers, hundreds of you who answered our question about educators carrying guns in class. Obviously, our poll was unscientific and it’s not often you get a unanimous opinion on anything. But on teachers carrying guns, it was just that. 100% against. We can’t post them all but here are some of our favorites, edited for space. We will be in touch for those winners who want a News & Guts mug.
Will, History and Political Science, CA
Prior to teaching, I served in the US Army and was trained to use a pistol and the M4. Guns in the classroom is a horrible idea that would stifle discussion, can cause unfortunate accidents which have happened in schools that already allow teachers to conceal carry, and in the midst of a school shooting when law enforcement arrive wouldn’t distinguish a teacher with a gun from that of the active shooter as they are focused on neutralizing the threat. If given the option to carry in my classroom I would refuse because even police officers who train to respond to intense situations often miss their intended target.
“I will teach your child. I will love them like they are my own…But don’t ask me to hold a gun in my hand while I do it, just because you’re too beholden to the NRA to figure out a better solution to save us all.”
Karen, Government, SC
I am a military brat who was raised around guns. I am totally against arming teachers in classrooms. Arm me with counselors, social workers, nurses and programs that keep kids engaged in school. Fund our education system like the prison system so we can focus on prevention…wouldn’t it be a great goal to be so invested in educating our youth that there’s no longer even a need for a prison system. My job is to love and nurture our youth and to think that anyone is considering I may have to take one of them down? No. Never. I have no problem shielding and protecting every kid around me, but do not ask me to become a killer, too.
Nicole, Principal, WV
The reason I am able to respond to this question at 2:00 pm on a Friday afternoon is because West Virginia is currently in a statewide work stoppage due to the refusal by our state legislature to provide our state employees with a livable wage and fair benefits. I cannot imagine where the funding and support would come for providing the weapons, ammunition, and training when we cannot provide textbooks, digital learning materials, mental health supports, and so much more. Our educators are already stretched thin, giving from their own pockets, and struggling to make ends meet. Why would we lay this enormous responsibility at their feet with all the other roles we already ask them to take on.
Bailey, English, MA
If this is a serious conversation, proponents of this measure will have to explain to teachers why we can’t get funding for supplies, support staff, enough teachers to have appropriate class sizes, or functional buildings but they are willing to fund training, guns, bullets, insurance, and shooting range memberships. If this were ever to happen, I would immediately leave the teaching profession and run for office to reverse these measures.
“…if I witnessed a child hitting someone with a stick on the playground, I would NOT give everyone else sticks to defend themselves. I would NOT train 20% of the student population to be stick ninjas and protect the rest of the student body.”
Ree, English and Preschool, NC
I retired from teaching officially in 2010. I am also a gun owner with a concealed carry permit. I own a handgun for protection and have been through a gun safety course. I believe we need better protection for our schools, a strictly enforced ban on assault-type weapons and high capacity magazines, and much better mental health background checks. But arm the teachers? No, never.
Alan, Social Studies, NH
While I’m a combat veteran and feel comfortable carrying firearms with me as a matter of routine, this suggestion that teachers be equipped with guns is ludicrous. In addition to funding and safety issues (the training and firearms won’t be cheap), there are several broad problems with the entire paradigm supporting this measure. The tone of classrooms is critically important. Introducing guns shatters this atmosphere. Teachers would simply become the first targets in what would invariably be a surprise attack. Additionally, the idea that teachers must shoulder a responsibility for this kind of safety issue (a feat military personnel are trained for and given armor and superior weaponry to complete) isn’t a solution, it’s an abdication of responsibility by our leaders.
Lori, First Grade, Austin, TX
I teach first grade in Austin, Texas. No to guns in the classroom. I had a teacher friend tell me she would like one. I understand the fear and thinking that a gun provides safety. However, this is what I said to her. Think of all the teachers you’ve known. Would you want all of them to have a gun? Now think of the teachers you would not want to have a gun and put your child in that classroom. Do you still think all teachers should have guns?
Kelly, 4th Grade, Palos Verdes, CA.
To put it in simple terms…if I witnessed a child hitting someone with a stick on the playground, I would NOT give everyone else sticks to defend themselves. I would NOT train 20% of the student population to be stick ninjas and protect the rest of the student body. I WOULD take the stick away from the child. Yes, you do have the right to pick up that stick, but that right is taken away if you chose to harm someone or use it in a way that is unsafe to others.
Natalie, Kindergarten, IL.
So you ask how I feel about arming teachers…Sad. Sad that I live in a world where this is even a consideration. Sad that I have to hide with my students in a bathroom to practice being “quiet and safe” in case there is an intruder.
Sheila Marie, 7th & 8th Grade English, Civics, and US History ESL students, VA.
[Teaching] is our job. This is our burden to bear. But gun violence is not our problem to solve. That is the job of our lawmakers, our president, people we have voted into office. And if the best they can come up with is giving teachers even more responsibility, putting guns in our schools, and passing their job on to us, then it’s past time for a change. I will teach your child. I will love them like they are my own, even if they sometimes make that very difficult. I will protect them to the best of my ability. But don’t ask me to hold a gun in my hand while I do it, just because you’re too beholden to the NRA to figure out a better solution to save us all.