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Ohio Teachers May Now Pack Heat In The Classroom, And All The Children Were Saved!
There are so many, many ways this can go wrong.
Arming teachers is not a good idea. Teachers don't think arming teachers is a good idea. The National Fraternal Order of Police doesn't think arming teachers is a good idea. School safety experts do not think arming teachers is a good idea.
And yet, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine just signed a bill ( House Bill 99 ) allowing teachers with a mere 24 hours of training to carry guns in school, claiming that this is a thing that will make schools more safe.
This follows a state supreme court decision in favor of parents who sued a school district for having a similar policy and demanded that any school teacher carrying a gun go through a 700+ hour peace officer training course — the same number of hours cops have to take in order to carry a gun at their job.
During the debate for the bill, the only people Ohio Republicans could find to testify in favor of this fabulous idea were a firearms lobbyist and the CEO of a company that advises schools on active shooter situations ... and is literally owned by state Sen. Frank Hoagland, who proposed the bill in the Senate.
"This is a common-sense, proactive step in securing our schools from the threat of an active shooter," Hoagland said in a statement . "In doing this, we will be empowering administrators, teachers, school resource officers and communities to make critical decisions in dynamic situations to protect our kids."
Strange how so many of the things conservatives like to label "common sense" are in fact very bad and ineffective solutions to things. How many guns will have to be left in a school bathroom, or fall off a teacher's hip, or be slipped from an unaware teacher whose attention is one of her 30 other kids, or accidentally discharge, before we shitcan this fabulous idea?
DeWine said in interviews over the weekend that having guns in the classroom is optional and school boards can decide for themselves if this is something they want to do.
"The best thing is to have a police officer in the schools," he said. "They can be plain clothes, but some schools may not be able to do that."
Sure, if what you want is for more of your kids to get arrested, that is a great idea.
Does the presence of police fuel the “school-to-prison pipeline”? A 2017 national study provides some of the clearest answers.It found that arrest rates of children increased substantially after schools received federal grants to hire police officers, starting in 1999. Each additional officer led to about 2.5 extra in-school arrests annually of children between ages 7 and 14. There was also some evidence that additional police meant older students were more likely to be arrested both in and out of school. [...]
In one recent study , researchers interviewed dozens of school personnel, including police. One officer described an incident where a student refused to leave a teacher’s classroom for an in-school suspension, and the officer was called to tell the student to leave.
“The next step after that is, if you’re refusing to do what I tell you to do,” the officer would later tell researchers, “I’m probably going to take him into custody for ‘unruly juvenile,’ and we’ll settle it that way.”
The incident, the researchers say, “illustrates the potential for school disciplinary involvement to escalate into an arrestable offense.”
In case you are wondering where the hell they can arrest 7-year-olds, the answer, unsurprisingly, is Florida.
It's not surprising that the Right has latched on to this "arming teachers" thing. They don't want gun control, so their only solution to the problem of mass shootings involves more guns — and presents an opportunity for guns to be seen in a positive light, as the thing that saves children rather than only ever killing them. It also doesn't hurt that it sounds like a pretty cool narrative to some people. An evil person comes in and tries to do a mass shooting, but before he can even get off one shot, a heroic teacher reaches for his gun and incapacitates the monster. It would no doubt make for a reasonably exciting scene in an action movie.
The problem is, that is just not actually how things work in reality. In reality we know that a lot of these shooters do not plan to survive their own massacres, and therefore the prospect of a teacher with a gun taking them out would actually be an added incentive. In reality we know that adding a gun to the situation can actually make things more deadly. Never mind the fact that it could make it more difficult to tell who the actual shooter is, in the heat of the moment, to someone just entering the situation. It seems highly unlikely that this is the kind of thing that will end well. And, as mentioned, the experts agree with this.
Both the Ohio Federation of Teachers and Ohio Education Association urged DeWine to veto the bill, saying it is "dangerous and irresponsible" to put more guns in schools in the hands of people who aren't adequately trained.
"House Bill 99 will make Ohio's students less safe in their schools," the organizations said in a joint statement .
Its opponents also include Moms Demand Action and the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio.
The FOP's Mike Weinman testified that the bill would create a jumble of school district requirements and result in inadequately trained teachers who will then confront a confusion of roles.
When armed, a teacher's first responsibility is to act as a first responder, Weinman said: "She will be required to abandon her students and respond to whatever threat may be in the building at a moment's notice."
So, again — teachers, parents, cops, basically anyone with any expertise at all in this matter or skin in the game does not think that it is a good idea and in fact thinks it is a very bad idea, but Republicans pushed it through anyway, because they care about a cool storyline more than they care about keeping kids safe.
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