The Gatepost Editorial: #ArmMeWith

Responding to President Donald Trump’s suggestion that teachers should be armed in the classroom, many educators have responded back – detailing what resources they believe they need to prevent future school shootings.

Hint: few, if any, suggested arming themselves with guns as a solution to the mass shooting that occured on Feb. 14.

Out of their collective frustration, teachers have created the #ArmMeWith hashtag, a trend involving teachers posting pictures and open letters to their social media accounts outlining the tools they need to be “armed with” for more success in their classrooms.

Some teachers are calling for smaller classroom sizes and funding for more school supplies. Others are calling for changes in their curricula that focus on the well-being of each student rather than test scores.

While legislation regarding guns in the classroom will not immediately affect college students, we at The Gatepost feel it’s important to champion the #ArmMeWith movement, as FSU is recognized as one of the best teaching schools in the nation. In fact, it was the first public normal school in the United States.

While on Wednesday, Feb. 28, during a meeting with lawmakers, Trump called for stricter gun laws, he didn’t back down on his suggestion that teachers should be armed in the classroom.

But during the town hall meeting in Florida hosted by CNN, even Florida Senator Marco Rubio even said he would be uncomfortable sending his children to a school where teachers were armed.

When a suggestion like this seems asinine to someone who accepts hefty NRA contributions, that says something about the proposal.

It’s understandable that parents, lawmakers and citizens are feeling anxious after the massacre on Feb. 14, but arming teachers with guns is not the solution. If security is the concern, there are many other ways schools can be made safer.

For example, many schools have cameras facing the exterior of the school and doors leading outside that automatically lock after the bell rings for homeroom. This, paired with an intercom system that visitors have to speak into, makes it impossible for somone to enter the building without identifying themselves.

We at The Gatepost are glad the Trump administration is taking the issue of gun control seriously, but the thought of arming teachers with weapons is something out of a dystopian novel.

We should use this opportunity to re-evaluate the education system so that students who have mental health issues do not slip through the cracks of the educational and social service systems, as well as law enforcement as the shooter did.

Schools should spend more time evaluating the mental and emotional health of their students. At the beginning of the school year, it would be wise to have a licensed therapist come to talk to students and evaluate the mental health of all students.

Arming teachers with guns doesn’t create the safe learning environment students deserve.

Schools aren’t a shooting range, we should focus on being proactive about student mental health  rather than reactive in response to a tragedy.