Teachers shouldn’t have to defend students with guns

Graphic courtesy of Dave Conner, Flickr

There was nothing that compares to the presence that the victims had following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. Their constant appearances on television and their speeches that went viral across the Internet is unparalleled.

Their message was clear: they want to be safe at school. According to EveryTown, there have been 300 instances where “guns have fired live rounds within the confines of a school” since 2013. That averages out to roughly once every week since the Sandy Hook shooting.

President Trump has made it clear that he wants the government to provide firearms and training for teachers and a salary bonus for the additional training. While it is good that he would actually consider boosting the salary of those tasked with advancing society by training the citizens of tomorrow, he left out one flaw.

The flaw being that we already have people whose sole purpose is to protect the citizens of the nation from danger, enter the police officer.

According to a Slate article in April 1999, 19 percent of high schools are patrolled by law enforcement during normal school hours. According to an article published by the New York Times in February 2018, that number has jumped to 42 percent.

Why is this number not 100 percent? How is it that the children of our nation, in more than half of the schools in the country, are not protected by even a single police officer? How have these districts not been chastised in the media for their lack of security?

Having armed police officers in schools should be commonplace, especially considering nearly every month, we are tasked with offering thoughts and prayers to the families of those who have lost their children, because of the lack of security within our schools. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average high school holds 752 students.

Based on the statistics above for armed police officers within those schools, the ratio of high school students to police officers is roughly 1,900 to 1. To put that into reference, that would mean having two Public Safety officers to manage the entire resident population of Ramapo’s campus.

The time to change all of this is now, not the next election cycle, not after the next mass shooting, it’s right now.

It should be required by law that all schools have at least one armed police officer to patrol the school. Not only would this provide more jobs, but this would give parents a better sense of security.

School is a place of learning. Our teachers have enough on their plate being tasked with teaching our children that there are evil people in this world that want to kill them, they don’t need to be their defenders as well. That’s not why they went to school.