By Nathyn Edson
Last week, Joey Kelly wrote an article about the recent school violence, specifically school shootings. He basically states that arming teachers with either firearms or non-lethal weapons will deter students from attacking, therefore making schools safer. He also suggests having a bigger and better security force on the school campus, possibly more police officers or trained dogs. The argument is made that gun-free-zones only increase the possibility of a shooting.
After interviewing a few students at North Eugene High School, ranging from sophomore to senior, they do have differing ideas. Although there was a pattern of thinking that a teacher could emotionally snap and use the gun against a teacher. Even with that said, students still were split, some for teachers carrying firearms and some against. The ones for firearms said that, in a violent situation, a teacher with a weapon can extremely help the scenario by stopping the attacker.
A proud gun owner and North Eugene Woodshop teacher, Mr. Piltz, agrees with the notion that gun-free-zones are an obvious sign of vulnerability. He disagrees with the idea of having non-lethal weapons such as firearms saying, “non-lethal weapons are no match against a lethal firearm. Tasers are close range, and something will go wrong. Either one prong will miss or both. You WILL miss. It will not equally combat a lethal weapon.” He does not feel that all teachers should carry weapons, “only the ones that are familiar with a weapon, that have the mindset and commitment necessary to use lethal force.” He also says that the only teachers that should be able to carry weapons should “have a specialized training program with strict parameters.”
I told Mr. Piltz that some students fear that a teacher with a weapon might snap and possibly harm a student. He responded, “Teachers don’t get paid very much, they don’t become a teacher for the pay. A teacher becomes one because of their love and commitment towards students. They become one because they want to help a student learn and grow. If I were to shoot a student that brought a weapon to school, I would have awful remorse. I would have to live with the guilt for the rest of my life. My reputation would be destroyed by media, I would lose my job, never be able to teach again, and I would be financially destroyed from trying to fight the lawsuits against me. Even though it is worth it to protect the innocent lives of all of my students, the guilt would be unbearable.”
He believes that the police force that we have as of now is inadequate. “If a shooter would show up to the school right now, would the police officer bust the door down, guns blazing? No. She would wait outside and call for backup.” Although Mr. Piltz believes that having teachers carry firearms would be a good idea, he feels that it would be hard, if not [im]possible to have a legislation passed, permitting teachers to do so because of obvious reasons. “Students are always all over me, hugging and bumping into me. They would eventually find it and maybe even get ahold of it.”
Mr. Suchman, a language arts, global literature, and social justice teacher at North Eugene High School disagrees. He believes that if a violent scenario were to happen, then “the teacher should not intervene. They should get as many students as possible into a safe place and call for help, and a lockdown if one is not already happening.” He feels that teachers having defence training is unnecessary and having teachers carrying any sort of non-lethal weapon is a bad idea. He feels that the best way to combat any violence in schools is to educate students to notify staff of any suspicious behavior. All in all, he believes that “having protection increases the chance of someone getting the gun and attacking.”
I was unsatisfied with the contrary ideas that both teachers presented, therefore I interviewed our school police officer, Renee Tobler. She believes that teachers should have defense training, “it would be helpful.” She also says that this kind of training would be helpful if it was mandatory. “The training should not only be physical, but also educational.” Renee is for teachers carrying firearms, under the circumstances that there is “extensive screening, ongoing proficiency and education training. This is for being able to use a weapon correctly while abiding by all the recent laws.” She does disagree with having teachers carry non-lethal weapons because “most things are solved through therapy.” She also believes that we cannot properly handle a lethal situation with tools that are “less lethal.”