The Next Time a Teacher Accidentally Shoots a Student
Lawsuits, political firestorms and emotional turmoil will be just a few of the unintended consequences if schools allow teachers and staff to carry concealed weapons.
Recently several lawmakers and school districts approved plans for allowing teachers and staff who are concealed carry permit holders to carry their weapons on campus grounds. Although a highly contested topic, the arguments that support arming school teachers and staff commonly mention the security benefits that are meant to protect students in a mass shooting. A voice more seldom heard in this debate is the classroom teacher’s perspective and whether the intent correlates with the actual ability teachers and staff possess.
Navy Seals, FBI HRT members, SWAT team members in the United States and abroad conduct intensive training to in order to achieve and, as importantly, maintain a level of proficiency that allows them to conduct hostage rescue missions. In general, the training addresses the technical and physical skills as well as the mental composure needed to successfully conduct such a complex mission. Muscle memory, accuracy, target acquisition, stress management and tactical team work are but a few of the skills and capabilities that are developed by these elite team members over a prolonged period of training.
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In essence, engaging and neutralizing a school shooter is no different than the final part of a hostage rescue mission. Some would argue that it is actually more difficult, even for a highly trained permit holder, to engage an active school shooter since a permit holder does not have the element of surprise, lacks operational intelligence, has no protective gear and no team members for tactical support. As a result, the probability of friendly fire and collateral damage in inevitable.
What should a teacher or a staff member expect after he or she accidently shoot a student? Depending on numerous uncontrolled factors, one can only assume that that individual would find him or herself:
- Possibly sued by various entities.
- In the midst of an insurance fight and a blame game free for all.
- In the focus of a political firestorm where the individuals background, personal life and weapon proficiencies are closely scrutinized by various political entities.
- In emotional turmoil that might be severe and long lasting yet without the traditional support systems that police and army personnel have.
- Feasibly accumulating and exceeding leave of absence or sick days
- With a questionable prospect of future employment within the educational field.
Allowing concealed weapons in schools places the burden on teachers and staff members to act as potential protectors in the event of a shooting. Placing such a responsibility on individuals that have not received exhaustive training in active shooter situations is an area school administrators must continue to revisit.