After 17 people were shot and killed at a high school in Parkland, Florida in February and there was a public outcry for gun control, the National Rifle Association and the Trump administration laid out their plan to solving America’s mass shooting epidemic: Arming teachers.
There are now at least nine states that allow teachers to arm guns. One of those states is Colorado, where 30 school districts and charter schools have given teachers the okay to bring firearms into classroom, according to the Denver Post. However, there is no statewide gun safety training standard for educators and no standard use-of-force policies, and such policies are left entirely to decisions of the individual school district.
In fact, it’s an insurance company, the Colorado School Districts Self Insurance Pool, coming up with the most regulated training and safety standards for armed educators. However, the insurance company does not disclose which school districts, charter schools, and teachers are actually allowed to bring guns into the schools.
Colorado law allows school boards to designate teachers and staff as school security officers that are allowed to carry concealed in the classroom without training. However, to be insured those districts and teachers need to meet some requirements. This includes, among others, 24 hours of firearm training over the past year, four hours of classroom instruction on firearms safety and use of deadly force, 14 hours of live fire range training exercises, six hours of school active shooter training, and the shooting range test police officers need to pass, according to the Denver Post.
There are a number of issues with allowing educators a license to carry in schools. As Rick Myers, executive director of the Major Cities Chief Association explained to the Denver Post, police officers receive hundreds of hours of training learning how to know when they are supposed to shoot and how to avoid hitting innocent people — far more training than what the teachers receive.
Meanwhile, the data is clear that more guns in school increases the likelihood of a gun-related accident. In March, a teacher at a Seaside, California high school accidentally fired a gun inside a classroom, injuring a student.
Sheldon Greenberg, a Johns Hopkins University education professor that has studied the impact of arming teachers, fears that such policies could prompt a teacher to use their gun on an unarmed student during a confrontation and noted that students of color are already punished more severely than white students for the same minor infractions due to bias, according to CityLab.