Guns in the Classroom
Guns in the classroom statement:
Preamble: A number of school shootings culminating in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018 has elevated the need to keep students safe while attending school. Some legislators and citizens have called for arming teachers in the event of an active shooter in their school. In response, a number of teacher professional societies1 have spoken out against arming teachers in the classroom. These professional societies cite many reasons to not arm teachers thus keeping the primary responsibility of teachers as educating students rather than acting as school resource officers. Furthermore, the incident in California, where a trained teacher illustrating gun handling injured students should be an indication of the potential problems that exist when arming teachers in the classroom2 . AAPT joins other professional societies recognizing that arming teachers with guns is wrong.
Statement: “Teachers are in the classroom to teach and foster a comfortable and open environment for learning. Arming America's educators places an unrealistic, unreasonable burden on them and has the potential to cause harm from inaccurate discharge of firearms among other dangers. This can undermine the sense of safe, supportive learning environments. Training and arming school staff diverts critical human and financial resources away from strategies known to help decrease violent behaviors. Protection of schools is a job for security personnel. Possession of firearms should be limited to qualified school security officers, who receive ongoing training on how to prevent unauthorized access to their weapons and on evaluating the risks of firing them. Therefore, we strongly oppose arming teachers and professors in classrooms and on campuses.”
Approved by the AAPT Board of Directors on April 27, 2018
1NEA: With that many weapons in a school, Pringle says, there will be more accidents, more fatalities, and more fear. “Having a gun that would have to be secured and locked somewhere in a closet and then having to go for that gun and then having to use that against a shooter, it makes no logical sense.” “First, most of my colleagues have zero interest in carrying. Second, there is a much greater chance of having a negligent discharge or a misplaced weapon or a bad guy getting hold of that weapon than there is of that teacher using it to neutralize a threat.”
NASP (School psychologists): NASP joins virtually every other organization representing school and safety professionals in recognizing that arming school staff is wrong. Doing so places an unrealistic, unreasonable burden on America's educators, has the potential to cause more harm from unintentional or inaccurate discharge of firearms, and can undermine the sense of safe, supportive learning environments. Equally important, the time and costs associated with training and arming school staff diverts critical human and financial resources away from strategies known to help decrease violent behaviors such as improved access to mental health services, effective threat assessment practices, properly trained school crisis response teams, and creating welcoming, inclusive school communities for all students. NASP also strongly believes that possession of a firearm should be limited only to commissioned, trained school resource officers.
NASRO (School resource officers): Law enforcement officers could mistake a teacher for an assailant. Anyone maintaining a firearm must have it ready for use but locked up and secure. Law enforcement officers receive training on how to prevent overcoming access of weapons, whereas teachers are not. Firing a weapon on campus is risky and could result in unnecessary deaths. Law officers are trained in evaluating the risks of firing.