Thursday, October 19, 2006

Teachers With Concealed Weapons?

Wisconsin state Rep. Frank Lassee (R) plans to introduce legislation to allow public school teachers to carry concealed weapons. He claims that Thailand and Israel allow their teachers to do so, and that such a tactic could benefit Wisconsin. Before I begin my exploration of how ridiculous this proposal is, it must be pointed out that Israel DOES NOT allow teachers to carry guns. Either way Lasee's comparison is ludicrous. Exactly what demographic similarities do Wisconsin, Thailand and Israel share?

Lasee is as obviously incapable of assuming the mantle of teacher (especially for geography) as most teachers are of serving as police officers. Of course no one is suggesting that Lasee take up teaching, and Lasee's bill wouldn't require teachers to carry guns. He is only suggesting that teachers assume the roles of enforcement, intimidation, and security. Never fear though- the errant lawmaker would offer extensive training to any school staff willing to pack heat. He never does explain who would be responsible for funding this training. Maybe we can use some of the surplus from the underfunded federal mandate- "No Child Left Behind"? It would give the title of the program a bit of needed credibility.

Of course money is not the only obstacle to the plan. Lasee would have to find an end-run around the nation's eminently reasonable ban on guns on school property. That's a good thing too, because there is no guarantee that every teacher is mentally stable enough to assume the responsibility of carrying a gun. Technically they are likely a much better bet than the general public- they have to get security clearances and background checks to work in the schools- but what level of confidence does such an allowance require? There are occasional stories of teachers losing control and hitting a kid. Slightly more common are threats , explicit and otherwise. What administrators and school boards want to take the risk of certifying the emotional stability of every single one of their employees? It wouldn't be enough to assess employees upon hire... they would have to continually perform evaluations. And what kind of insurance company is going to extend coverage to the gun-totin' school district? (If your answer was "none", then you are the "A" student.)

The objections to this proposal are many and (mostly) obvious. How would the school district ensure that these weapons did not come into the hands of students? The policy might encourage some crazy kid with nothing to lose... to assault the teacher and grab the gun. Given the disorganized mobs in the halls of overcrowded schools, how could we ensure that an innocent bystander is not harmed by an errant bullet? And what type of modeling behavior is a teacher providing by bringing a weapon into school? What does it say about the philosophy of the school?

Finally, anyone who has actually ever been a teacher should know that this idea isn't going to go over well with parents. In many instances, parents don't even trust their children around certain books... let alone guns. Public school employees are constantly inundated by parents who make excuses for their children's behavior. What happens when the teacher blows away their kid? That kind of fear would be the best justification I could devise for home schooling. (**here I've deleted what I originally thought was a fairly witty quip, but have since reconsidered and judged to be insensitive and a bit tasteless) The idea is an abomination.


Anonymous jefg said...

I believe I have simplay read to many of your posts in one sitting. When I read "What happens when the teacher blows away their kid?", my immediate thoughts were (1) I hope selective criteria is used, to help reduce or eliminate the PSSA issue of a failing sub-group, and (2) we might finally replace the time-worn phrase "going postal" with "going K-12".

8:21 AM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

That's pretty funny... your first thought eerily reflects the part of my original post that I self-censored. You didn't read it before I took it out, did you?

12:29 PM  
Anonymous jefg said...

Your comment that something in my post reflects an unpublished part of your post might make me think you're recognizing that we share some similar ideas. Then again, the fact that you find it eerie discounts that concept once again. Glad you found it funny, as intended.

2:03 PM  

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