The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Shaw: Trump’s support of giving guns to teachers is problematic and not plausible

President Donald Trump meets with students, parents and teachers affected by mass shootings in Parkland, Fla., Newtown, Conn., and Columbine, Colo., to search for policies to keep America’s schools safe in the State Dining Room of the White House on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

The proposal to arm teachers with firearms by Trump is implausible in the ways that it could enable more budget cuts to schools, not deter school shooters, and culminate in turning preconceived biases about students of color into threats.

By: Nichole Shaw

[email protected]

President Donald Trump has once again made disreputable and implausible claims to the public with his Feb. 23 tweet. In this tweet, he said armed educators who are adept in firearms and participate in annual training should get a yearly bonus to ensure the safety of students. He further said this would be inexpensive for the state budget and education budget. Trump also believes that giving teachers guns will deter school shooters because they will be struck with fear in the looming threat of death. He is wrong.

Teachers are some of the worst paid employees in the nation, and instead of paying them the money they deserve, education budgets will probably be cut some more to afford those “bonuses” Trump suggested.

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Budget cuts aren’t new to our educational institutions. Recently, Trump proposed a 2019 education budget that showcases a 5.3 percent budget cut that doesn’t even include higher education. How are schools going to be able to award, as Trump says, “only the best” firearm-adept teacher bonuses if the government is cutting the already slim budgets? It isn’t uncommon today for teachers to dip into their own pockets to buy around $1,000 worth of school supplies for students annually, according to a report by NPR in December 2017. The government should focus on giving schools and teachers enough funds for supplies, resources, and programs instead of proposing ludicrous ideas like the expensive arming of teachers with firearms.

The point that giving teachers guns will deter school shooters because they will essentially be struck with fear in the face of death is just delusional thinking. A lot of the school shooters we’ve seen within the past two decades have a background of mental illness and have attempted or gone through with suicide. Columbine shooters Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed themselves after murdering 12 of their peers and a teacher. Adam Lanza killed himself after shooting and killing 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook. Seung-Hui Cho killed himself after killing 32 people at Virginia Tech. Steven Kazmierczak killed himself after shooting people at Northern Illinois University, killing five and wounding 17. The list goes on. These shooters aren’t afraid of death, they invite death. This is yet another fallacy that has been unveiled in response to Trump’s recent political statements in support of the NRA and arming educators.

RELATED: Helton: Two bad arguments against gun reform, a better one, and why they’re all wrong

There is a problematic nature in teachers carrying guns in regard to what they might perceive as a threat. Police officers today struggle with putting aside their own personal bias toward people of color and acting out on that bias unjustly. Education Week Research Center reported in 2017, “In 43 states and the District of Columbia, black students are arrested at school at disproportionately high levels,” enabling the school-to-prison pipeline. Who’s to say that teachers won’t succumb to their own personal biases? Will teachers’ preconceived biases lead to a skewed perception of threats from minority students?

In the end, arming our educators with weapons is problematic and simply not plausible. Before jumping to arm more people, the government should look at the effortlessness it takes to obtain a gun in the United States because of loopholes that allow for no checks to an individual’s background, age, permit, and licensing, among other things. Trump needs to revisit his strategy for deterring school shootings because more guns won’t solve the problem, higher security protocol and stricter processing of gun purchases will.

RELATED: Gun regulation, or lack of, in spotlight


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