Guns in class
BY World's Editorials Writers
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
12/19/12 at 4:35 AM
Sen. Ralph Shortey is infamous for off-the wall ideas during his brief tenure in the Oklahoma Legislature - remember his anti-cannibalism measure earlier this year? - but his plan to introduce a bill that would arm teachers and other school personnel is both dumb and dangerous.
Guns in the classroom? Very bad idea.
Joining Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, in the call for such legislation is Rep. Mark McCullough, R-Sapulpa.
"I trust my children to my local teachers and principal every day" McCullough said. "I want to give these trusted, responsible educators the ability to defend themselves and our children in the same way any normal parents would in the face of the unthinkable."
Think back for a moment on teachers you've had through the years. Would you honestly want some of them armed in the classroom, even if they'd had training?
Lynn Stockley, president of the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association, said she's yet to talk to a single teacher who thinks the proposal by Shortey or McCullough is a good idea.
And that's because it isn't a good idea. Teachers wear a number of hats - educator, quasi-parent, social worker, etc. - but security guard shouldn't be part of their job description, even if they are certified to handle a weapon.
Guns in the classroom begs the obvious question of where would teachers store a weapon while in the classroom? Do they walk around with a gun on their hip? Do they lock it in a drawer? Keep it in their purse or briefcase?
From the time 20-year-old Adam Lanza burst into the Sandy Hook Elementary School until the time police secured the site 20 minutes elapsed. Even if the principal and other personnel who confronted Lanza had been armed, could they have reacted quickly enough? And could they have stopped Lanza without endangering innocent bystanders?
Arming educators and other staff assumes that these people will also be armed with perfect decision-making skills, perfect marksmanship and will have perfect luck in defending children.
The obvious and only choice for on-site weaponry is the armed security guard, who's been trained - or should be trained - in how to react in explosive situations requiring split-second decision-making. Does every school have such a guard? Not yet.
McCullough claims that he's been considering the proposal to arm teachers for a long time but in light of the Newtown, Conn., mass shootings, is confident that "it's an idea whose time has come."
It's an idea, Rep. McCullough, whose time will never come.