“Security Breach” Teaching

Feb 26, 2018 by

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Colleen Rogers –

Lately, a lot resolutions have been proposed concerning re-vamping schools’ security systems by arming a select group of “defensive” teachers at every instructional campus. “Teacher designees” would receive bonuses and special para-military training to diffuse any potential threats by a school shooter in their building work-sites. Many overburdened and under-willing teachers have recoiled at the idea of manning educational professionals with weaponry. Considered yet another worrisome, horrific classroom responsibility, faculties across the nation view school personnel as, once again, being held liable for another societal ill, which they alone are required to “fix”.

Although statistically only one in a million students nationwide is a victim of a school shooter, parents’, politicians’ and media outrage have issued this “call to arms” as an immediate, knee-jerk response to school invasions. One of the problems with arming teachers that is not openly discussed, however, is the issue of liability. There should be concerns over these guns’ thefts, accidental discharges, and student injuries in crossfire shootings as teachers attempt to diffuse attacks. After all, aren’t these weapons to be housed in or near classrooms? Who is actually to carry the responsibility for each of these weapons’ maintenance, safety, storage and usage?

Truly, who is to bear the emotional and financial burden of liability if a stolen, school-issued gun is used in the commission of a crime? What if an innocent student is shot from the accidental discharge of a school-housed weapon? What happens if someone other than the shooter is injured by a teacher in a “take down”?

Schools, by their very nature, are not steel security vaults. Schools, instead, are actually beehives in a flurry. Parents pick up their sick child, students board buses for field trips, teachers attend workshops outside of the building, administrators leave for District offices, and deliveries are made on loading docks. No classroom or office on any school campus is secured twenty-four hours a day, and no door is ever one-hundred percent guarded. Is the burden of holding onto these weapons the responsibility of the Federal or State government, local law enforcement, or the school districts?

My suspicion would be that, if something goes terribly wrong with one of the school-sanctioned guns, the responsibility and financial liability would fall squarely on the shoulders of the weapon’s assigned teacher. Each teacher needs to think carefully before co-signing with such programs—think about your career, your family, and your students. Even with a proposed bonus for the teachers armed, they need to ask themselves…Can you bear and insure the loss that you’d carry?

Colleen Rogers, Retired Secondary and Middle School Spanish Teacher
(36.5 years teaching — South Side of Chicago)

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