The Daily Illini

Don’t weaponize teachers

By Sam Ferber

I am writing to express concern for a current movement that would allow teachers to carry weapons to deter or prevent a shooting at their schools. This movement was recently promoted by President Donald Trump, and while it has not found much agreement throughout Illinois, there are several areas where this suggestion has been well-received.

As a student, I oppose this movement to put weapons in the hands of teachers. By suggesting a solution such as this, we are saying that we will do nothing about preventing these shootings. We should not propose a course of action that will make these shootings appear “normal” instead of trying to prevent them from ever happening again. Our efforts should be focused on preventing school shootings instead of assuming they will happen.

Among other concerns are the financial aspects of this proposition. Arming teachers would be incredibly expensive. An estimate of the cost of this project is a staggering $71.8 million for the entire country. In addition, placing this pressure on teachers who will be forced to defend their children is not fair to those teachers. What will we do with excellent, brilliant, inspiring teachers who do not feel comfortable making life or death decisions or holding a weapon? Not let them teach? We cannot ask these teachers to take on this responsibility.

Furthermore, accidents happen. What will we do if tragedy strikes or a student gets ahold of the firearm? Denying the possibility of these events if teachers are armed would be as foolish as implementing the solution itself.

The truth is, we may not be able to stop people with mental health issues from committing acts of terror. But if you take away their ability to do incredible amounts of fatal damage to innocent children who are simply going to school, we will not have to watch more families bury their children — or grandchildren.

Sam is a senior in LAS.

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