Friday, April 18, 2014
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Something to think about: Armed and dangerous

By
From page A4 | July 12, 2013 | 20 Comments

When I first heard, approximately one day after the Newtown shooting, about the proposition to arm teachers, I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was a knee-jerk reaction to the tragedy. Now, more than 30 states are considering legislation to allow teachers to carry weapons in schools. South Dakota has already passed a law allowing teachers and other school personnel to become “sentinels” by carrying a gun. They have to pass certain requirements and the law graciously says that a disinclination to pack weaponry is not grounds for dismissal, nor can it be a reason not to hire someone; people may choose to become school sentinels. They don’t call it the Badlands for nothing.

As an educator for 23 years at both the middle school and elementary level, the idea seems ludicrous and ineffective to me. There are no secret places in a classroom, especially an elementary classroom, with 30 active, curious people all sharing the same space for hours a day. It’s just not possible to keep a gun and ammunition away from the prying eyes and fingers of 30 children in a classroom.

Let’s suppose, however, that someone built a secret, completely childproof place to conceal a weapon in a classroom. I doubt seriously if there is anything completely child-proof on the planet. But, just supposing of course, you have a secret, safe place for a weapon. Most likely, there will be some kind of law that will make it mandatory, for safety, to keep the weapon and the ammunition in separate places, so you would need two childproof secret places.

If a gun is kept in one part of the classroom and the ammunition is kept in another, what happens when a bad guy shows up? While you are hunting for the gun and the ammo and trying to load the weapon, you could have been moving your students to a more protected area, like a bathroom or a closet. You could have done something to slow the shooter, like locking the door and turning out the lights. Students are a teacher’s primary responsibility; not bagging a bad guy. Better to have a “what-if” plan where you’ve thought out the options and practiced them instead of relying on a shootout in front of 30 terrified witnesses.

As a grandparent, I would not feel one bit safer knowing that my granddaughter’s teacher was packing. I might feel safer if I knew it was very difficult for anyone to get to the students. An armed and trained security person outside the school monitoring all incoming people might make me breathe easier, but a pistol-packing teacher searching for ammunition wouldn’t raise my comfort level.

My opinion has nothing to do with the ability of teachers as gunslingers or guardians, because teachers are capable beings. It has everything to do with what I view as a teacher’s job and the overall safety of the classroom. I would worry more about a snoopy 7-year-old finding a weapon or ammunition than about the possibility of a nutcase coming in to shoot up the school. I would worry more about a teacher having to focus on shooting such a nutcase instead of focusing on teaching students and protecting them. A shootout at school doesn’t sound like protection to me — it sounds more like Armageddon.

Wendy Schultz is a staff writer and columnist for the Mountain Democrat. Her column appears bi-weekly.

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Discussion | 20 comments

  • cort parkerJuly 12, 2013 - 5:45 am

    perhaps conceled carry

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  • cookie65July 12, 2013 - 6:04 am

    I guess advertising school grounds as gun-free zones was a much better idea at discouraging those intent on creating unimpeded carnage and harm. You do understand that a CHP officer doesn't actually have to pull anyone over to get traffic to obey the posted speed limit. All they have to do is be present. I am curious why government buildings are equipped with armed guards while our kids are sitting ducks.

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  • Paddy O'furnitureJuly 12, 2013 - 8:48 am

    Wendy, the safest place for the gun would be on the teacher's hip in a nice little holster with a snap. No kid would find it accidentally or remove it from the teacher if they had even a tiny bit of carry training. And it would be accessible in approximately one second. ........................ So the question is Wendy, do you really think this idea is unsafe based on hard data and research, or do you just not like guns? Fess up now.

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  • cookie65July 12, 2013 - 9:35 am

    Paddy O', haven't seen you in a while. This opinion piece is the typical emotional solution which is what gave us the gun-free zone experiment. An experiment where the smartest among us used the kids they care so much about (because they can use them for money and power) as Guiney pigs. Those who gave us the gun free zones surround themselves with armed security. The sad part is those kids were just collateral damage for the lefts agenda. It was a crisis they hoped to capitalize on. Never let a crisis go to waste.

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  • Jim RiordanJuly 12, 2013 - 10:21 am

    Cookie, it is because the "unknowing" trying to FORCE the unwilling to do so many things against their will while stepping on their constitutional rights, are well aware of how angry the populace is becoming such that they consider the majority of citizens to be a threat. I consider it a waste of tax dollars to pay for their protection. It appears that even the "unknowing" in their office buildings, I should say OUR office buildings, do at least know how much they are hated for what they do and how wrong it is. I say dump the guards and dump the bureaucrats in the guarded buildings. All I need or care about is our law enforcement for citizens and our fire depts. Isn't it funny fire departments don't need protection . . . because citizens know the FD cares about them . . .can't say that about all those stone ghettos full of useless fee-ers and finers stepping on our freedoms, can we?

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  • cookie65July 12, 2013 - 1:16 pm

    Correct Jim, you reminded me of something that used to hang on the wall of a place where I used to work, it read; we the unwilling lead by unqualified attempt to do the impossible for the ungrateful.

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  • BlackMustangJuly 12, 2013 - 2:00 pm

    A biometric handgun safe in the classroom would work fine'

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  • cookie65July 12, 2013 - 4:41 pm

    Question for the author. Why do the schools call people who are armed in the case of someone wishing to do harm at some school?

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  • kggJuly 13, 2013 - 2:45 pm

    as it turns out, some insurance companies are unwilling to insure schools that have armed teachers. odd that these insurance companies have more sense than school boards.

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  • EvelynJuly 13, 2013 - 7:13 pm

    Speaking of education . . . Homeland Security's very own Janet Napolitano to become President the University of California's 10-campus system. Sign of the Times?

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  • EvelynJuly 13, 2013 - 7:14 pm

    "See Something Say Something"

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  • Shaun the SheepJuly 13, 2013 - 7:22 pm

    Baaaaaaaaad!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Lady MacbethJuly 13, 2013 - 7:27 pm

    Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Shaun the SheepJuly 13, 2013 - 8:06 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Np9LsZ3J6P0

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  • Lady MacbethJuly 13, 2013 - 8:50 pm

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xyVSS5J7p8

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  • Phil VeerkampJuly 13, 2013 - 8:57 pm

    How do you expect my dinner to settle? Janet? Really? The UC system??? Thanks a lot, Ms Mac.

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  • cookie65July 13, 2013 - 9:10 pm

    Leftist running our education system is why we are no longer a producing country. You can't teach what you don't know.

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  • Lady MacbethJuly 13, 2013 - 9:28 pm

    Johnny Carson: "Describe the sound a sheep makes when it explodes."

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Lady MacbethJuly 13, 2013 - 9:29 pm

    SIS BOOM BAAAAH

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Phil VeerkampJuly 13, 2013 - 10:14 pm

    SF's Tim Lincecum pitches the first no hitter in Petco Park - Giants 9 - Padres 0 Go Giants!!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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