The recent school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut was a huge tragedy. It is one of America’s seminal moments, one that we will all remember. Of course, once the mourning finishes, it is time for everyone to create solutions to the problem of mass murders in our schools. I am not ready to propose a solution because I am sure the problems are many and varied.
As usual, some elected officials feel it is better to be first out with a dumb idea than to be last out with a measured, comprehensive idea. Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine earned his way to bw my highlighted person. Mr. DeWine wants first-responder training for teachers and school workers throughout the state. Sounds okay.
But Dewine wants to take that further. He thinks we should seriously consider having an ex police officer or someone with significant gun training have access to a gun in school.
This is such a bad idea that I am not sure where to start. First of all, most schools are being forced to eliminate teachers, staff and programs because of budget cuts. Music and arts programs are eliminated or stripped to bare bones. Sports have been eliminated. Tutors dropped. Busing curtailed. The cuts are seemingly endless. Yet we want to somehow take money and hire an armed guard. Who can afford a non-teaching person in the school?
Better yet, we’ll just find someone with “significant gun training” who can teach in every school in Ohio. This at a time when the requirements for being a teacher are increasing and teacher assessment is undergoing a huge overhaul. Does the person with “significant gun training” not get evaluated? What if they are the worst teacher in the school? Do we have to find a replacement before we can let them go?
Let’s get back to the “first-responder training”. I am not sure what that is, but it sounds like a good idea. We all need basic CPR and some advanced training in how to deal with traumatic injuries. But you get into time and cost issues. Who pays for the training? Schools don’t have the money. The State budget is really tight. Is it fair to ask teachers to pay? And then you have to question the long-term benefit of it. I know if I don’t use a skill after a while I forget how to use it. Is the training sustainable?
And guns in the school. I’ve read where the politicians want someone in school to have a gun “locked” in their “office”. Most schools I have been in do not have many offices. Certainly 90% of the teachers do not have offices. And don’t you think curious – or mischievous – kids would try to find the locked cabinet with the gun? What if they did?
In addition, someone with “significant gun training” is different from someone in the military or police force. Police and military are trained to shoot a person – very different from shooting a target. Are we going to have to provide them additional training?
Perhaps most importantly, will this person really be effective? What happens if they accidentally shoot a child in trying to kill the intruder? Police and military have “friendly fire” happen – and they are trained extensively. How will they feel is they are unable to kill the intruder until the intruder has killed a number of people? What if the designated person is on the other side of the building? What would schools have to do if the designated person is not in the building – on a field trip, sick, etc.? Would we require schools to have a back up or two person?
I am not trying to shoot all these ideas down. But as the title indicaets, there is no thinking – just overreacting.