AP Photo/Philip Kamrass, File
Throughout the nation, we’re still having a debate about allowing teachers to carry firearms on school property. Proponents believe that more guns in the hands of good people will go a long way not to stop mass slaughter by empowering teachers to fight back, but by preventing such attacks from ever happening. Opponents, on the other hand, think more guns will lead to unhinged and racist teachers shooting black students for the smallest slights, all while canonizing teachers as saints who deserve six-figure salaries (if not higher) and all the resources we can muster. Yeah, I don’t get it either.
Anyway, while the debate rages, it’s worth noting that Utah has allowed carrying firearms on school campuses for decades and not only have teachers not started gunning down students, they also aren’t known for school shootings either.
It seems that all the hysteria has Utah teachers a little concerned, though. So what are they doing? They’re doing what teachers all over the nation should have the ability to do. They’re considering carrying their guns to work.
Thomas and 31 other teachers, principals, and counselors filled a classroom at the Utah County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday for a concealed carry instructional course, part of a comprehensive academy to help educators prepare for potentially violent situations.
An earlier lesson focused on de-escalation techniques. Later in the month, the class will receive hands-on training at a shooting range. It’s the first time the sheriff’s office has offered such an academy.
As schools around the country contend with how best to prevent and respond to active shooter situations, there’s disagreement over whether arming teachers is an effective way to keep students safe. In Utah, where it’s legal to carry a concealed firearm in the classroom, some educators are weighing the potential risks of bringing a handgun to school with the greater sense of security they believe it could bring.
Jennifer Jacobsen, a 70-year-old physical education teacher at Willowcreek Middle School in Lehi, had never shot a gun as of Wednesday night. She isn’t sure whether a concealed carry permit is something that would have crossed her mind 20 years ago when she first began teaching.
I get it.
Teachers aren’t usually gun people. Becoming an educator requires a different personality than your typical gun person possesses. They’re not mutually exclusive by any means, but it’s not overly common.
However, the hysteria over mass shootings has got to get to some of these folks. If you’re constantly told you’re a target, you’re going to believe them.
I can’t even say they won’t be, that’s what’s sad about all of this. In Utah, they’re far less likely to be, but that doesn’t mean someone won’t try. If they do and no one has a gun, guess what? The law allowing armed teachers didn’t do a lot to protect anyone, did it?
Yet what tickles me is this little bit from Moms Demand Action:
“Guns don’t belong in our classrooms to begin with,” said Mary Ann Thompson, head of the Utah chapter of gun control advocacy group Moms Demand Action. “Teachers and staff should be focused on helping our kids learn, not focused on being responsible for stopping an active shooter.”
I don’t think anyone disagrees with what teachers and staff should focus on.
But I’m going to let Ms. Thompson in on a little secret. The moment a mass shooting starts, ain’t nobody going to be focused on learning. At that moment, I don’t want an educator around my kids; I want Rambo, the Terminator, and Chuck Norris. Since two of those are fictional characters and the third is a fictionalization of a real person, I don’t think that’s going to happen.
An armed teacher who, in the process of defending their own lives, saves the life of one of my kids? That’s the next best thing.
Wanting teachers to focus on educating our kids doesn’t mean they should also ignore the potential threats. I know too many teachers to think they’re not capable of focusing on what they need to focus on while still being ready to deal with a maniac if need be.
Why do people like Thompson have such a low opinion of our educators, anyway?