Thursday, December 20, 2012

School Shooting

I've been carrying on an animated discussion on the topic over on Facebook, but the bottom line is that my opinion falls well within what is currently mainstream American thought:
A new poll released today by Gallup shows that Americans favor increased security and proactive mental health treatment over gun control. The national poll of a little over 1,000 adults was conducted in the wake of the tragic murders at a Connecticuit school last Friday.
I wrote on the topic of arming teachers over 5 years ago.


Ellen K said...

Having had to deal with a student who is apparently so similar to Adam Lanza as to creep out my entire department. But here's my whole rant.

allen (in Michigan) said...

The problem with the "teacher decides" approach is the lack of accountability as well as the lack of any science.

The first objection ensures that paranoid or spiteful teachers will abuse their authority. After all, why not?

The second ensures that kids who aren't a danger but are simply a bit odd will end up in mental wards, pumped full of drugs, being poked and prodded by quacks who have an interest in keeping them there.

Darren said...

If the teachers are properly trained "reserve officers", Allen, I don't see any of them twisting off. It hasn't happened yet, and I have no reason to believe it would happen in the future.

allen (in Michigan) said...

I think I was responding to some other post, perhaps the result of early morning confusion. The gist was that the teacher ought to have the unilateral power to label a student potentially dangerous by reason of mental defect resulting in institutionalization. I wasn't saying that armed teachers are more or less likely to go medieval then unarmed teachers.

As to your contention that being trained as reserve officer is a worthwhile policy, I have my doubts.

There seems to be this assumption that being a cop makes someone an expert on all things firearm. Not even close to true.

For all cops a firearm is a bothersome necessity. Some learn to accommodate the bother but many barely tolerate the necessity and the lack of tolerance shows up as abysmal gun-handling practices. Getting cops to regularly qualify with their service weapon is an on-going headache.

Turning a teacher into a cop by making the carrying of a firearm a job requirement invites a similar attitude on the part of teachers to the firearms they'd required to carry. I can't see much good coming out of that.

My vote would be for the not-too-vigorous encouragement of teachers to acquire a concealed carry permit and to carry on the job.

By "not-to-vigorous", I mean no pay bump or other substantial benefit. If you're going to get the CCW you're going to get it on your own dime because you feel the need but that the stated and enforced policy of the district would be that a teacher who's accepted the scary responsibility of being armed has the full support of the district.

And then cashier the inevitable administrator or two who can't accept the policy and seeks to overturn it in their school.

I believe a policy like that would be a step in the direction of de-infantilizing the profession of teaching while ensuring that the only teachers who carry a weapon have chosen to do so and thus are fully accepting of the daunting responsibility.

maxutils said...

School shootings are so rare . . .as tragic as each is, we are responding to a largely nonexistent problem with ridiculous vigor. Obviously it would be better if there were a better mechanism for referring students who seemed . . .'off' for evaluation, and for providing better treatment for those in need of it -- as well as for adults. The NRA's suggestion that we have an armed officer in each school is both ridiculous and inefficient-- what are the odds that the guard and the shooter actually meet up on a large campus? Of course, since gun manufacturers support the NRA, it isn't surprising that they would support a 'solution' that involves the purchase of more weaponry. My ideal tack would be twofold: allow teachers to apply for concealed carry permits, and allow them to carry on campus after some sort of school district screening, and then not let anyone know who was carrying and who wasn't -- not knowing if you were walking into a classroom with an armed teacher or not would be the best deterrent. Then, close the 'gun show' loophole, that allows purchase of guns without backround check. . . if you believe people with a history of violence or mental illness shouldn't be able to have ready access to weapons, supporting this loophole is idiotic. If you don't believe that . . .please make a case for why those people should be able to own guns . . .