There is no perfect way to protect kids from the horrors of random school shootings. Since the Columbine High School massacre, the majority of districts have come up with their own response plans, but more often than not, they boil down to locking the rooms and waiting for the police department to respond. Given the low probability of a school shooting, that imperfect response is enough for many places, but for one district in Arkansas, more drastic measures were apparently needed.
According to Arkansas Matters, the superintendant of the Clarksville School System recently decided, in response to the Sandy Hook Tragedy, that twenty teachers and staff members will be given fifty-three hours of firearms training and issued a voucher to purchase a concealed weapon. No one will be informed of what teachers will be armed, but given the district is pretty small, there will be a sizeable percentage of personnel packing heat.
Here’s what School Superintendent Dr. David Hopkins had to say about the policy…
"They're not gonna be in a uniform, and they're not gonna be wagging their gun on their side. We're going to be very discrete about it, but yet we're going to be trained professionals, and we're going to be able to provide security for our kids in a matter of seconds instead of minutes."
There are some who look at the above policy and see nothing but a sensible response to the morally complicated times we’re living in. Obviously, in a perfect world, no one would need to carry guns into a school, but since bad guys do occasionally shoot strangers, it makes some sense to arm the good guys. With more than fifty hours of training and a job that requires them to be there anyway, it’s somewhat logical to arm teachers. On the other hand, however, arming anyone always increases the chance someone will be shot accidentally. Beyond that, the risk of any one single school being invaded is extremely low. Consequently, militarizing somewhere children are supposed to be comfortable will likely lead to uneasiness and an increased worry that statistically shouldn’t be there.
Clearly, everyone in this school district has the kids’ best interests at heart. Anyone who says otherwise is clueless, but having a group’s best interests are heart and actually responding in the most appropriate manner are two very different things. Since there doesn’t seem to be any turning back now, however, I sincerely hope these weapons never have to be used or even pulled out. I hope their mere presence serves as a (likely unneeded) deterrent, and all these kids actually spend time doing is learning.