A Case Against Arming Teachers and other School Personnel on K-12 Campuses




Cambron, Robert Shawn

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)


The debate on whether to arm teachers and other school personnel on K-12 school campuses has been ongoing in earnest since the tragic killing of 26 elementary students and school staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012. The debate intensified after President Donald Trump made comments supporting the arming of teachers shortly after the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in early 2018 where 17 students and staff were killed and another 17 were injured. President Trump affirmed that arming teachers would be an inexpensive deterrent that would prevent future school shootings. President Trump’s comments have simplified what is a very complicated issue. Enacting policies to arm teachers and school personnel would be far from inexpensive. The training that would be needed to train school personnel to prepare them for confronting an active shooter would have to be intense and ongoing to give them an outside chance of successfully neutralizing an active shooter. There are also the costs of the liability issues to consider by enacting those policies. In addition to the training, liability and potential litigation costs that could arise there is also the cost of the firearms, ammunition, and pay to train the teachers. When viewed in its totality, the arming of teachers is far from inexpensive or as simple as President Trump has stated. As for the deterrent effect of arming school personnel, there is no empirical evidence available to support that assertion. Based on all the pitfalls associated with arming teachers, school districts should refrain from arming teachers and school personnel on K-12 school campuses.



School Crisis Management, School Violence, School Security Measures, Firearms--Law and Legislation