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Guns in classrooms not the correct solution, say experts

By Aziza Doleh

April 4, 2013

In wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary and Chardon High School shootings, our nation is split on the issue of gun control. Should we have tougher gun laws? Should our teachers be armed?

Teachers across the nation are pledging to protect their students with weapons, even at the risk of losing their jobs. In Texas, teachers are rallying for free gun classes. In Ohio, many have signed up for gun training following the massacres.

Students are now forced to think about their futures in teaching. Undergraduate education majors are worried about responding to a crisis and that may keep them from accepting a job as a teacher in part to the extreme action that legislators are considering to prevent future violence.

Ann Bauer, the chair of the counseling administration supervision and adult learning department and associate professor at Cleveland State says that if you, the police, can’t always shoot right, how can teachers and professors get it right?

Bauer teaches school administrators how to prevent and respond to violence and safety issues. Bauer once in 1998 had to respond to a shooting in Jonesboro, Ark., she says that educating ourselves about school violence, safety issues, media violence, bullying and mental illness can help us understand more of the issues at hand on how to respond.

“We shouldn’t have guns on campus or schools, having access to a weapon nearby someone that could possibly be troubled, would turn into a disastrous situation if they got a hold of that weapon and used it,” said Bauer. “Guns don’t kill people, bullets do and if there is no gun there’s no bullets.”

According to studies between 2001 and 2010, more than 900,000 people in the U.S. were either killed or wounded by gunfire, according to research by Dr. Ned Hill, dean of the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs.

He found that the number of deaths caused by firearms – including not only murders, but also suicides, accidental deaths and deaths of suicide by cop – has gradually increased since the late 1990s.
Hill analyzed data on gunshot deaths, gunshot wounds, gunshot violence rates and related statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While legislators are suggesting that teachers be armed, there have been no ideas of how teachers should secure them or nothing has been released as to how much it will cost to secure the firearm.

“I get very uncomfortable with the idea of people having guns in their office, guns available just sitting around and I don’t know how they would be secured, I don’t think it would be good for the campus climate,” said Dr. Paul Skalski, film and digital media director at Cleveland State.

Dr. Skalski an expert on research in media violence has said before that media violence can have a negative effect on a person, but so can growing up in a hostile environment that can cause societal violence.

“I wouldn’t feel safe because they could accidentally kill innocent people, also teachers can also, like any other student, have a bad day and use it. If the teacher didn’t conceal their weapon well enough, someone could grab or steal it and start shooting. Having weapons around for use outside law enforcement can be disastrous,” said Mariam Faraj, middle childhood education major at Cleveland State.

The government is still determining the debate and discussions on passing gun control laws.