Arming teachers is something that has been in the public sphere for some time, particularly after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida earlier this year. This mass shooting left over 30 people dead and wounded.
As a result, many students, including the Parkland survivors, are tired of the gun violence in their schools and want a solution. Several National Walkouts have been planned and executed in the last few months, as students take matters into their own hands and demand accountability from those in power.
One proposed solution is to provide educators with firearms. However, the University of Northern Colorado’s education majors have mixed feelings about this idea. Some of these individuals said they would not feel comfortable with a gun in the classroom, and none said they would be able to use the gun in an emergency situation. Aly Cottrell, a special education major, falls into this category.
“Personally, I wouldn’t feel comfortable,” Cottrell said. “As someone with high anxiety, I know in a high-stress situation, I wouldn’t be able to use properly use one, so what’s the point?”
Cottrell is a sophomore and believes that the better solution would be have armed security guards on patrol in the building. She also suggested another idea, which would be to have cameras posted at the entrances that would allow people into the school. The visitors would have to be verified from the office before that person could go through a set of two doors that lock and unlock via the front office.
Freshman Danielle Bailey is a fellow education major and she agrees with Cottrell, that there should be armed security guards in the building at all times. According to Bailey, if there are security guards, than there would not be a need to arm teachers. Bailey also said that she would be uncomfortable having a gun in her classroom and would worry that a child would be caught in the crossfire should anything happen.
“Our job is to help grow the minds of children, not be charge of a deadly weapon,” Bailey said.
On the other hand, Freshman Lydia Mertink is an art education major and said arming teachers is a good idea. She pointed out how it would put more responsibility on her as a teacher and as a person, but said if it keeps her students safe then it is a good idea.
However, Mertink said she hates that she would have to make these decisions and go that far in order to protect her students.
“I don’t really see a problem with it because people carry in everyday life anyway,” Mertink said. ‘If the only adult in the room has a gun I don’t see a problem.”
Mertink acknowledges how a drawback to this idea would be introducing young children to guns too early, which could in turn be harmful. She said she personally doesn’t believe that she could shoot someone, but said that maybe things would be different in an emergency situation.