Teacher helping kids with their homework in classroom at school


WRECKER: Should We Arm St. Louis Teachers?

If a teacher is prepared to defend their class, we should hear them out.

Ryan Wrecker
February 26, 2018 - 10:00 am

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar met with area superintendents with a conversation we don’t like having, but must. What happens if it wasn’t Florida? Would we be prepared if it happened in our own community? What are we doing to prepare?

I think there’s a lot of ideas we could be implementing that could be helpful. I also think arming teachers shouldn’t be off the table. In a report from KMOX, Belmar questions if it’s the right move, citing the mental, emotional and physical training it takes to handle an active shooter. 

There’s no doubt that we have no idea how anyone would react unless it was actually happening. In the moment, everything changes. Your preparations could be the world of difference, or it could meaning nothing. But it’s not about how prepared they are, it’s what they’re prepared to do. And if a teacher is prepared to defend their class, we should hear them out.

Imagine you’re in your home. Your spouse is in the other room, maybe reading a book or watching TV. Your kids are playing in their room or basement. They have friends over. It’s a regular weekend. You hear a noise. You hear another noise, and the dog starts to growl. You get up, look around and there’s definitely something moving around outside. 

What happens next is very important. Do you round up your family? Do you secure them in a place where you can protect them? Absolutely. 

What about your kid’s friends who happened to be in your house – do you also put them with your family for protection? Absolutely. There’s a reason I ask. They might not be your kids, but you’re an adult, and you’ll do whatever it takes to protect them. Whatever it takes. 

Imagine you’re a teacher. You have been trained, you have been certified to handle and operate a firearm. You’re barricaded in your room, fearing for your life and the kids around you as an active shooter forced their way through the halls. I got to imagine the same instincts to protect the kids kick in, even though it’s not your job. But as an adult surrounded by innocent kids, you don’t need to be told how to feel. It’s the first thing that crosses your mind.

Let me be clear – by no way should teachers be the ones engaging on any campus. This should be a last resort measure. Also, no teacher should be forced, or feel forced, to conceal carry in a school. But some staff may be uniquely positioned to be comfortable with it and will request it. There’s no way that firearm should ever leave the teachers side. There’s no way that firearm should see the light of day unless the class is barricaded in a classroom with nowhere to go and fearing for their lives. 

The question should not be how to arm every teacher. The question should be if some teachers are willing and able, and if we should let them. In areas that have already implemented this, let’s rely on their data and research. 

Before we even get to that stage, we have to make sure security is up to par, protections are in place and we’re proactive to identify threats before they even have a chance to walk onto a school campus.