We want police officers to protect our children at school. Most of us take that for granted. Now that we think about it, the firearms instructor who taught the police officer, is that instructor qualified to protect our children too? What about the instructor’s instructor? In theory, all of them are qualified to protect our kids. In some states they are allowed to, but in some states they are not.
We make deals with our conscience all the time. We bend the rules to make things better. That came to mind when I read that school staff are disarmed by law in North Carolina. I winced as I read about it. We trust teachers with our children’s future, both with their development over time and their physical safety today. When strange things happen at school, we expect the school staff to act as a parent would act. Maybe my view of teachers is biased because most of the teachers I’ve met are not the sort to hide behind bureaucratic rules, though I’ve met a few of those. You probably have too.
I shoot, so I’ve met many teachers who own guns. I’ve competed against teachers and school administrators in competitive shooting events. I’ve met teachers who were also firearms instructors and gun-store owners. I know school teachers who are so accomplished that they train and certify other firearms instructors. Great teachers are going to teach.
Maybe that is why I laugh when I hear someone say ‘It is too dangerous to allow school staff to be armed, and that we should leave school defense to the police.’ I wonder if they really know what they are saying.
It was a teacher, a firearms instructor, who first taught the police officer what to do with a gun. The police officer on campus, the School Resource Officer, has to qualify at the shooting range once a year, maybe twice a year at the most. If they have trouble qualifying, then the SRO might go to the range to practice. The instructor who works at the range probably shoots better than most police officers. In all honesty, I’m sure I would have trouble shooting well if I only did it once a year. The SRO might even see a firearms instructor to take a lesson. There is always more to learn.
It is ridiculous that the same person who teaches the School Resource Officer how to handle a firearm isn’t considered safe enough to handle a gun at school, but somehow the SRO is. I’m sure that some of the school staff used to be police officers. Maybe they are reserve deputies now. If you have not studied public violence then it is easy to imagine all kinds of things that aren’t so.
We know that best practice to protect our children at school is to combine some armed school staff and an armed SRO. Is that a surprise?
About one-out-of-a-dozen adults carry concealed on any given day. That means the person near you at the lunch counter could be carrying concealed. In some states, the teacher at your school can carry concealed everywhere else.. but not at school where he works. That doesn’t make sense if we’re really worried about protecting our children from crazy-men who want to murder them.
It sounds as if we want to protect our kids but we should first wait a quarter hour for the police to arrive. That doesn’t work.
I’ve heard people object that school teachers should be disarmed because they might want to kill the children. If you think that a teacher who plans to commit mass murder is going to be stopped by a plastic “No-Guns-Allowed” sign then you’re not thinking clearly. Some people simply can’t imagine that guns in school makes us safer. I think they need a better imagination. Would a politician be safer if we disarmed his security detail? I’ve never met a single politician who thought so.
Laws reflect the thinking at the time. What our politicians should have said is that they would like school staff to be trained before they go armed. I think we should leave school safety up to the local school board. The board is in the right place to hear the parents in their district. What fits one school doesn’t necessarily work at the next one.
That leads me back to bending the rules. Suppose you are a School Resource Officer in North Carolina. You take your job seriously. You train with firearms and you compete on your own time. You notice the firearms instructor who is working at the shooting match. They work at your school. You see them every week in their classroom.
You talk to them after the shooting match,
“You can’t bring firearms to school. I keep my competition guns in the trunk of my cruiser. In case anything happens, here is a spare set of keys to the car.”
The teacher thinks for a minute and then replies,
“There is a spare medical kit in the desk drawer in my classroom. That drawer is unlocked, but here are the keys to my classroom.. in case anything happens.”
We make informal arrangements based on trust all the time. I wasn’t there so I can’t prove that a conversation like this ever happened. We’d be a fool to think it didn’t. Fortunately, we’re smarter than our politicians. We need to be.
I gave you my best 900 words. Please share them with a friend.
I’ve been sick for the last month. I’m only now well enough to write. Thank you for your patience. RM