A Lesson on Gun Reform

Teachers: they are the thinkers, writers, storytellers, counselors, and innovators that serve as our role models and inspire us to dream. One role they have not assumed in the past, however, is that of the soldier. Recent tragedies have led Democrats and Republicans alike to call for gun reform, and most agree that Americans need more restrictions on guns. But one policy they cannot agree on is whether teachers should carry guns in school in order to protect their students. If this policy were put into action, it would not only be controversial but a bad influence on students and put them in further danger.

Gun supporters often argue that placing guns in schools will ensure that students have the protection of their teachers in the face of a potential shooter. This is not always the case. While teachers deserve our utmost respect, not every teacher is as honorable as we would hope. We have all encountered those teachers we did not trust, and the knowledge that they could be carrying a gun would only heighten those insecurities. These insecurities would also highlight the lack of equality in the American school system. The quality of teachers often hinges on the quality of the school, and if teachers were given guns this would also lead to different qualities of protection. Some students could gain relatively trustworthy protection while others are put in even more danger. All students should have the right to feel safe at school. Forcing students to be in the same room as someone with the potential to end their life at any moment will not produce this result.

This environment is unsafe in body and mind, as it could lead to physical harm as well as negatively influence children by endorsing gun violence. In order to create a better world, the men and women of the future should be taught to solve conflicts through debate and compromise rather than through guns and war. It is difficult to argue for peace when carrying an object that has so much potential for destruction. Americans have been unsuccessful in making any progress with gun reform, let alone inspiring others to change the world. The future is in our hands, but a system that not only encourages the use of guns but brings children and potential abusers of power within reach of these life-threatening objects is destined to fail. We should be focusing on keeping guns out of more people’s hands, not creating an arms race. This can be accomplished through thorough background checks, limiting the sale of semi-automatic weapons, and requiring permits for these weapons.

An iconic expression often discussed in the classroom and beyond is “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Americans have attempted to solve our crime crisis with the sword for far too long without success. Giving teachers guns will have a detrimental impact on students and will not end gun violence. It is paramount that the government finally pick up their pens and create reforms that would actually stop the tragedies that are too commonplace in today’s society.

- Abigail Shepherd '19