Lessons From Columbine: Arm All Teachers?

April 20 is a date that brings a sense of foreboding to many teachers: it was on this date in 1999 that the massacre at Columbine High School took place.

Now, 14 years later, what have we learned?

In one small town in Missouri, the lesson seems to be that all teachers should be armed. Fairview School, in White Plains, has been training its teachers and administrators in the art of carrying concealed weapons.

Really? Does that seem like a wise direction to head in?

Last month, The West Plains Daily Quill carried the headline “At Fairview School Some Employees Now Carry Concealed Weapons.”

From The New York Times:

That was how most parents of Fairview students learned that the school had trained some of its staff members to carry weapons, and the reaction was loud — and mostly gleeful.

“Sooo very glad to hear this,” a woman whose grandchildren attend Fairview posted on the Facebook page of The Quill, adding, “All schools in America should do this.”

This is the same state whose Senate is currently considering a bill that would require all first graders in the state to take a gun safety training course. Using a grant provided by the National Rifle Association, it would put a “National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program” instructor in every first grade classroom.

What’s happening around the country?

Federal lawmakers may not be able to even muster enough votes in the Senate to pass background check legislation in the wake of the Newtown, CT, shooting, but communities and schools are taking safety issues into their own hands.

The high school where I teach, similar to many others, has instigated stricter control on entrances and exits to the school, as well as bringing in extra police security. Other school have installed buzzer systems.

But Missouri is one of the exceptions in deciding to train school personnel to carry weapons. Around two dozen states have introduced bills allowing school employees to be armed, but for the most part those bills are not going anywhere.

The other exceptions include the 200 Utah teachers who lined up for free instruction in the handling of firearms, an event organized by the Utah Shooting Sports Council; and the $85 Concealed Handgun License course in Texas, offered at no cost to teachers that filled 400 spots immediately, forcing the school to offer another class.

I am at a loss for words, just as my AP French students were, 14 years ago, when we halted instruction to watch the news from Colorado’s Columbine High School.

The New York Times makes the point that the 600-student Fairview School is situated in a culture where hunting a variety of game like deer and turkey is a way of life, and that by age six, many children have already shot their first deer.

Well, maybe so, but that’s quite different from arming teachers in a classroom – really, how many deer and turkey are they going to spot there?

The job of a teacher is to teach, and if school security needs to be beefed up, that’s the job of trained security officers. Teachers should not carry guns.

Have we learned nothing from Columbine?


Related Care2 Causes

Missouri Bill Would Required All First-Graders To Take Gun Class

A Timeline Of Mass Shootings In The U.S. Since Columbine

Should Teachers Carry Guns?


Photo Credit: thinkstock


Joseph B.
Joseph B4 years ago

Well, We do know that prosicutions for gun law violations are way down since Obama and Holder came on board-
We do know Chicago has one of the highest murder rates in the nation and the strictest gun laws-
We do know laws on the books are not being enforced so in the mean time until they are, Arming teachers makes sense since the Democrat party won't enforce the laws on the books-
Gun control has never worked- Just ask the millions murdered throught history when they were disarmed by tyrant Governments!
OH- Forget it- They are dead- Ya can't ask em can you?

Deanna R.
Deanna R4 years ago


Joseph Belisle
Joseph Belisle4 years ago

That is complete insane. You're supplying schools with guns! How far does a mentally imbalanced student have to go to get a gun in a rage? No farther than a teacher. Someone breaks into a school to cause harm doesn't even need to bring a gun. Just find a teacher. Can anything be more insane? There so many ways you can get a gun away from someone in a controlled environment. What happens when a teacher looses control? They have a gun on them with which to educate holes in students. Wow. People actually think this is sound reasoning.

Liliana Garcia
Liliana G4 years ago

How come there's money for all this training BUT there's no money for armed guards! Lame excuses. If the NRA decided to chip in for the guards' salaries they would be have more credibility. However, if the town is so much into hunting, why not set up a body of armed volunteers to guard the schools for those six hours?

Robert H.
Robert Hamm4 years ago

As I have mentioned in other posts killing another human being is very hard to do. It looks easy until you are looking in their eyes and you KNOW you will stop them from breathing forever.
Some are going to hesitate in fact many may.

Robert H.
Robert Hamm4 years ago

The problem will be this. Most school boards are already terribly strapped for cash. Who will pay for these armed guards?? The cry is for less and less Taxes when the demands are going up and up. In these day of low tax mania something has to give.

Robert H.
Robert Hamm4 years ago

I agree there are two distinct cultures in out country, rural and city. They do require different approaches. The problem is if we have two set of rules people will just drive 5 or 6 hours out of town to buy their weapons. I understand that in rural America Guns aren't terribly scary. You can only kill 1 or 2 people most of the time. In cities you can kill 100 within 5 minutes. In cities no one knows a good guy from a bad guy from a crazy guy because most of us are strangers. Wyatt Earp understood this. He didn't let them wear their guns in town. I wonder if people screamed 2nd amendment at him for that.

Larry C.
Larry Cowden4 years ago

What the writer has failed to understand is that the first responders in every case of a school shooting has been teacher and staff. And they have paid the price! It hasn't been the police, because they do not arrive in time. Teachers can teach, but they also have a right to defend their lives and those of the students. Something the author refuses to acknowledge. Some schools already have armed guards in place. However, the majority do not. It is time to train and arm a contingent of teachers to respond to any future shootings. Not to do so is deliberate negligence in the protection of students on school grounds. Sadly, it's the "citified folks" that still don't get the message. They would rather have their children endangered by the false belief that 911 will stop a shooter. And they justify this with such arguments as students are going to deliberately grab firearms from teacher to go on a shooting spree. BS!
Those schools also do not provide any firearms safety training and refuse to do so.

Magdalen B.
Magdalen B4 years ago


Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson4 years ago

good grief