What are we telling our children when we arm their teachers?

There is a great deal of debate and controversy regarding a recent nearby school board’s decision to allow a select number of school staff [who have been psychologically evaluated and thoroughly trained] to possess handguns at school.  The main reason for allowing this action is to make sure there is coverage, in the event of a school shooting, between the onset of the situation and law enforcement’s arrival.

Our school district hasn’t implemented the same measures.  Yet.

At the moment I have kids in elementary school and at the high school.  Next year I will have one starting middle school, so there will be three different school buildings in which the most precious gifts I have ever been given will be walking around trying to further their social and academic development.

I love my children, and I would be truly heart sick if any of them met with an untimely death due to a mentally unstable person taking the liberty of walking through the doors of the school and shooting random students, but the last thing I want are teachers having quick access to guns.

We are not going to solve the problem of keeping our children protected by adding more guns to the mix.

This is a Band-Aid fix to the much larger problem, namely the level of mental instability we are experiencing in society today.

There are many reasons for the rise in depression, anxiety, unstable mental health and consequently, reactive violence in the United States.  Some of these reasons include:  a high divorce rate, adults with significant mental health issues or active addictions who are raising children, the nature of our entertainment (including television, theater movies, Internet, music lyrics, video games), and dual income families.

I am in no way suggesting there is a simple, one-size-fits-all answer to this problem, nor am I pointing fingers, however more guns at school is NOT the answer.

The beginning of a resolution to this enormous problem lies, in part, with adults taking responsibility for their mental health.  And in parents developing close relationships with their children, which takes time, commitment, and consistent, mutual respect.

In addition, our country needs to make it a priority to create readily available, AFFORDABLE, quality treatment for mental health and addiction.  At the same time, the shame and embarrassment which sometimes accompany mental health issues must be thrown out the window.

Just as you cannot treat drug addiction with a jail sentence, arming additional school staff does not begin to solve the problem of violence at school.

The essence of my concern:  by resorting to arming teachers now, what are we telling our children, and what measure will they need to take as future parents to “ensure” their children’s safety at school?

Call me crazy, but THAT thought scares me more than the idea my child might meet an unintended bullet in the school cafeteria.

Kim Muench is a Flower Mound author and works part-time in the field of substance abuse counseling with adolescents and their families. Visit her website at www.mymothersfootprints.com.

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