Putting guns in schools is not a recipe for safer kids

Sandy Schnell /


The idea of providing a gun for public schools for the protection of the children is counter-productive. I am not sure I agree with adding a gun to a school. I have questions on what that looks like and the responsibility that goes with it: Are all teachers going to be taught how to carry a weapon and gun safety? Or is the school’s principal the only one with a gun? And how much training will be required? It seems more like we would be stocking our public schools with fear rather than with protection.

I recently spoke with a former Oregon police officer who said, “The general public has no idea how to (properly) respond in crisis situations involving an armed man or woman.” And he said that some video games and movies make responding to a shooter look simple, but it is not. It is a great responsibility that has future consequences for everybody involved.

Then there is the logical mathematics of it: Add another gun. Add another scenario. Now we have a gun. Now we need more rules. Now we need more security. (Add security for the children? No, for the gun.) Are we adding fear for fear? Gun for gun?

Here is another example, if the number of humans using guns-against the innocent is 1 percent, and we increase the number of humans using guns, we will also increase the number of humans using guns against the innocent. Albeit slower, but still increasing.

A gun in school takes bullying to another level. There are laws against hurting each other. Are we going to break those laws as adults, subsequently teaching it to our kids? Or should we let law enforcement be law enforcement and teachers be teachers? If we make our own anti-terrorist cells in our community, then the children will too. They call them gangs.

We live in the Northwest but this is not an old Western movie we live in, where terms are discussed and vengeance is verbalized prior to a gun fight. Do we really want to show children that all you need is a gun for resolve? I hardly think more trigger fingers are going to create peace and safety, mathematically speaking. Let law enforcement do their homework and be there for the kids. I am not about to tell them how to do their job. But I hope we can adjust to the times we are in, in all facets of society.

Maybe put lockdown capability in our schools. (Similar to fire safety codes ... where all the doors in a building are heavy and remain closed to isolate fire from moving about.) I would like our state to explore preventive measures before biting the bullet and adding firearms to our public schools. Oregon is full of innovative people; surely there are other options that can be explored.

In the United States, public schools conduct earthquake, hurricane, tornado and fire drills. There is a protocol for each disaster and teachers prepare their students for the possible devastation and what to do. But no teacher can earthquake against an earthquake, or fire against a fire, or tornado against a tornado, and win. Instead of a natural disaster, our schools must now drill the students on what to do during a breach of security. Code words, safe places, and lockdowns should be instituted, even if the principal is packing.

In no way do I condone the depravity of doing nothing. I support our right to bear arms. And maybe a gun for the principal is the answer. It should be weighed against other options is all I am saying. Technology has advanced; I think society should as well. We will always have a percentage that kicks against the mold, but that doesn’t mean we have to respond in kind.