Is the best way to prevent school shootings really to arm teachers with guns? Teachers all over the country have been using the hashtag #Armmewith to send a strong message to both lawmakers and President Trump in the wake of the horrible school shootings in Parkland, FL.
While many politicians on both ends of the aisle have been trying to curb any sort of discussion on a nationwide assault rifle ban in order to appease the NRA’s agenda, these teachers have been posting more practical things they could be armed with instead guns.
Ricky Davila — or otherwise know as @TheRockyDavila — tweeted the following which pretty much sums up this new movement:
“Teachers from all around America are joining the #ArmMeWith movement where they are calling to be armed with Books, Empathy, Respect, Time, Smaller Class Sizes, Funding, Resources, Wisdom, Raises...NOT guns”
The President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Randi Weingarten believes that Trump is missing the point of what teachers would rather be armed with.
“Trump wants to spend money on bonuses for armed teachers yet has cut summer school and after-school programs, and he argues we can’t afford to pay for school safety programs, school nurses and counselors, and other programs that help kids,” said Weingarten in a press release, “How would arming teachers even work? Would kindergarten teachers be carrying guns in holsters? Is every classroom now going to have a gun closet? Anyone who pushes arming teachers doesn’t understand teachers and doesn’t understand our schools. Adding more guns to schools may create an illusion of safety, but in reality, it would make our classrooms less safe.”
If not guns, what should we arm teachers with?
According to a study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the top three causes of death for children aged between ten and twenty-four are “accidents, suicide, and homicide”. These three factors kill over six times as many young people as the following seven factors combined. The study also concluded that fifty percent of all lifetime cases of mental illnesses begin by the age of fourteen and seventy-five percent begin at the age of twenty-four.
Ryan Beale, a licensed psychotherapist and founder of the experiential school-based mental health intervention and awareness program Prepare U, believes that this statistic is no laughing matter and that we should arm teachers with mental health professionals instead of guns.
“Understanding our psychology as human beings are the best next step to curb the tide of this social change that we are going through,” explains Beale, “schools look and say this shouldn’t be our problem because it takes a village. The challenge is, that’s where kids are acting out some of the anxieties that they are feeling at home. You are going to see these behaviors acted out in the school system. In the past we believed this was not the school’s responsibility, we also see this now as this is the school’s opportunity to create a huge social change.”