I think that most of us with reasonably sound minds agreed some time ago that arming teachers, having guns in schools, was just a bad … really bad … idea. Those of us, that is, who believe the purpose of schools is to educate. Those of us who do not believe the NRA mantra that “a good guy with a gun …”. Those of us who have not fallen prey to the horseshit that has been spewed by the NRA that more guns make for a safer society.
We The People also realize that our current education system is falling into disrepair, that not enough money is allocated to do the job our schools need to do, and since Betsy DeVos became Secretary of Education, money has been diverted away from public schools and into her own pet projects, mainly charter schools that serve very few.
So, what next, you may ask? Ms. DeVos is proposing to take more money away from schools and use it to buy guns to arm teachers and staff in schools. After the Parkland school shooting, students and activists urged the government to implement gun regulations, to make guns harder to get, but instead, Donald Trump who is a boot-licker to the NRA, called for more guns in schools! A child could tell you this makes no sense.
“I want a hardened school. I would like to see true people with great talent at guns, being adept at guns, of which there is only a percentage of people. You can’t hire enough security guards.”
Oh for Pete’s Sake …
Research has shown that arming teachers or increasing the number of armed guards in schools will not keep students safer and may actually lead to more shooting deaths.
- Armed personnel would have little chance of stopping a shooter
- The more guns in schools, the higher the chances of deadly accidents or unintended casualties
In March, a month after the Parkland shooting, the House of Representatives passed the “Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act of 2018” that would have authorized grants to train students, law enforcement and teachers to identify the signs of school violence before it occurs. Sensible legislation, especially given that in the case of the Parkland shooting, there were warning signs that were overlooked or misunderstood. Such training might have saved the lives of those 17 students and teachers who died that day. But the bill died in the Senate.
The Department of Education currently controls $1 billion that is set aside for Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grants. The grants are intended for academic and enrichment opportunities in the country’s poorest schools, and can be used for three specific purposes:
- Promoting a well-rounded education
- Improving school conditions
- Ensuring the effective use of technology
None of these would cover the purchase of guns in my book, but in the mind of Ms. DeVos and her fellow fools, they believe that it would be classified as ‘improving school conditions’. Oh yes, by all means, more guns floating around in lockers, teachers’ desks, and untrained hands will almost certainly lead to improved school conditions.
I no longer have children in school, but as a taxpayer, parent and a grandparent, I have knowledge and am entitled to my opinion. Frankly, if I did have a child in a public school that was either arming teachers or hiring armed guards, I would remove my child from that school immediately.
The purpose of schools is to provide education, not to become a firing range. Money allocated to schools should be spent wisely on hiring excellent teachers, purchasing textbooks, renewing and upgrading equipment, providing materials so that teachers do not have to spend their own money to do so.
For once, Congress was spurred to action and yesterday morning (Thursday), Senator Chris Murphy introduced an amendment to a massive funding bill up for a final vote as soon as Thursday afternoon that would block the Department of Education from allowing school districts using federal funds to purchase firearms.
“I’m introducing legislation today to block the arming of teachers, and I do so knowing that earlier this year, Democrats and Republicans in Congress came together to pass a bill that expressly opposed putting guns in the hands of teachers. Congress doesn’t think this is a good idea. Parents don’t think this is a good idea. Teachers don’t think this is a good idea.”
A voice with some common sense, but Senator Murphy is a democrat. Will this proposal fly with the republicans in Congress? I suppose it depends on how strong the link between them and the NRA still is. The ranking Democrat on the House Education Committee, Representative Robert C. Scott of Virginia, said granting state requests to use federal funds for firearms would be “openly violating the spirit of the law as well as common sense about gun safety.”
“Redirecting that money to arm teachers and school staff will recklessly endanger the safety of both students and educators, while robbing underserved students of the support and opportunity they deserve.”
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said …
“We knew Betsy DeVos would try to do the bidding of the National Rifle Association and the gun manufacturers, but to even consider diverting resources used to support poor kids to flood schools with more guns is beyond the recklessness we believed she was willing to pursue.”
There was a time that this notion would have been laughed off the table and DeVos would have been quickly replaced for even suggesting such a thing. But then, that was a time when DeVos would never have been given the position she is in. That was a time when we had a legitimate government that remembered to whom they answered.