On Wednesday the Florida House voted to arm teachers. This despite massive opposition from Parkland student activists, teacher's unions and parents. However, each school district must still vote on whether or not to implement the program.
Since this effort to convince lawmakers of the dangers of armed teachers didn't work, EVERY school board needs to see failures of guns by ANYONE in schools anywhere. There are numerous failures listed below which can be sent to school boards.
Because these stories are only reported locally, most people have never heard of them. If these stories don't get to the right people in school boards they might think that guns in schools programs are working just fine. They. Are. Not.
During the Florida House Education Committee hearing one representative asked for evidence of the danger of arming teachers. If I was there I could have provided him this list of cases the Gifford's Organization put together of mishandled guns in schools. Now this info should go to every school board member.
Every Incident of Mishandled Guns in Schools
Since there are other states that and are deciding if they should go down this dangerous road, here is a list from my friends at the Safe Tennessee Project: A Few Recent Examples of Why School Employees Carrying Guns in Schools is a Bad Idea
In addition to showing the gun fail cases of teachers and school employees, I think it is important to ALSO show school boards all the times that School Resource Officers, cops and armed security guards in schools screw up. Because this is the math: More People With Guns Equals More Gun Accidents.
Last year Connie Rooke, who is an educator and gun owner with a background in military policing, talked about gun safety. She pointed out that trained professionals fail with guns. Here she a video of her talking to the Bevard Country School board last year.
Rooke provided this list to her school board: Research Sampling Firearms Incidents By Police, Teachers Or Staff On School Campuses.
Here Connie talks about the danger of guns in a school environment.
Last year I watched multiple groups go to school boards to convince them to vote against the armed teacher program. In many cases school boards rejected the program.Sadly 25 out of 74 school districts voted to arm administrative staff and non-classroom teachers. There are currently 743 armed school staff employed in Florida.
During the Florida hearings I saw Education Committee members claim that other states have armed teacher programs and "they don't have problems." I've heard legislators claim that "If there were problems, we would have heard about them." This is a classic dodge. If someone is right there to point out the problems they pivot to downplaying gun negligence cases as rare or minor. "Nobody was injured so..." If the problems are serious, they claim THEIR armed people are better trained and "It won't happen here."
But problems DO happen. For example, here are two school shootings that happened in the last two weeks.
April 30 Pasco County Florida:
School resource officer accidentally discharges gun in middle school cafeteria
April 18, Dallas County Texas:
Mesquite officer accidentally fired a gun in Horn High School, police say
Luckily, no one was injured in either school shooting. You will note the media headlines: "accidentally discharges gun" and "accidentally fired a gun." My gun owner friend reminded me that unless the gun malfunctioned, the correct phrase should be "negligently discharged a gun." But you rarely see that phrase used by the police or the school district spokesperson.
When failures by trained professionals happen parents and teachers need to go to the school boards and say, "Posting Armed Individuals in our schools is dangerous. They are also ineffective. We need to end the program."
At that point the people arguing to continue to keep guns in schools, hoping for a future successful stopping of a school shooter, will be up against an actual failure of an armed individual in the school. Schools boards need to hear these cases.
Bottom Line: Armed Individuals in Schools Fail to Protect
"the answer to a key question — How effectively can someone with a gun protect a school from someone else with a gun? — is almost always missing from the discussion." Scarred by school shootings, By John Woodrow Cox and Steven Rich, Washington Post, March 25, 2018
In that article they point out that the odds are 200 to 1 that the next shooter will NOT be stopped by an armed guard, SRO or armed teacher. (Link ) In the most recent shooting at the University of North Carolina Charlotte the shooter was stopped by a student, Riley Howell, who tackled him.
Why do people cling to the idea the good guy shooting the bad guy must be an option in the goal to protect students and staff? Partly this is because of the gun lobby narrative that guns are the answer. Partly because of unrealistic expectations created by movies, TV and video games.
The evidence shows that most shootings are over in seconds and couldn't be stopped even if someone was right there with a gun.
It is important to focus on the daily real danger of guns in schools. Each gun fail is an educational opportunity to remind people of why guns in schools are a bad idea. These individual stories need to be brought up to school board members by the community over and over again, because after a shooting makes the national news the drive by the uninformed public for more guns starts again.
The legislators in Florida pushed the final decision to school boards. I've seen that school boards can be as uneducated as legislators. There are multiple methods that can be used to educate them. If groups that do not want guns in schools don't convince them to not to implement programs that allow guns in schools, groups that want guns in schools will win.
Currently there are groups of sheriffs going around talking to school boards about their great armed teachers programs. They have fancy simulation machines. It has become a profit center for them: Florida sheriffs spend millions on school guardians
School boards need to know that armed police and armed teachers are dangerous and ineffective in stopping school shooters.
There is a 1 in 614 million chance of a mass shooting at a school but a 1 in 8,000 chance of a gun accident. School boards need to understand what those regular gun failures will cost them, not only in injuries or loss of life, but in the environment they are creating by having armed individuals in their school every day.