Armed Teachers = Bad Idea
After Adam Lanza murdered all those children and adults in Connecticut and then took his own life, people started to brainstorm ways in which we could make our schools safer. The usual ideas were bounced around: locking doors, bulletproof materials, armed guards, enhanced visitor screening, metal detectors and the like.
Well, I’m here to tell you that teachers with guns are a bad idea. Consider the following story as just one example of why I believe this to be true.
Jacqueline Baffoni was an 8th grade teacher at the Collaborative Academy of Science, Technology and Language Arts in New York City. Students and parents knew her as someone who truly cared about her students and would do anything possible to help them. If they had a problem, Baffoni would take them to lunch to talk about it and come up with a solution. She even raised money online to help offset book costs for some of her less fortunate pupils. And given that Baffoni worked as a probationary teacher, she was no stranger to the challenges her students faced and did whatever she could to help them succeed.
In other words, she seemed like a model teacher. But all that changed late last year.
During one of her classes, several students became unruly and disrupted Baffoni’s lesson. Rather than kicking them out and sending them to the principal’s office for discipline, Baffoni instead fantasized out loud about how she “felt like stabbing some of these kids” and even told her class that she had a knife in her desk. This was true, even though she only used the knife to cut fruit from time to time.
“To hear something like that, it was kind of shocking,” eighth grader Samantha Vega said later. Classmate Lauren Reilly agreed that the incident made her “feel horrible.”
The administration took immediate action and removed Baffoni from the school pending an investigation, which concluded last October. She of course resigned and moved out of town, but I suppose it’s possible that she’s teaching at some other school now.
Hell, if a teacher accused of sexually molesting students can find work in some other school system, then why not Baffoni?
Fortunately, this case ended well and any potential for violence was averted. But if a teacher that people know and trust can fantasize about killing her students, wouldn’t it stand to reason that other teachers might do the same? And given the laws of probability, it’s only a matter of time before one of them actually acts on this fantasy.
Now imagine that this unstable, pushed-to-the-edge teacher is armed with a handgun. Suddenly you have 10-20 students captive in a classroom like lambs to the slaughter. Who knows how many kids would die before school security could react?
Trained and armed guards in schools is one thing, but teachers packing heat is something else. I can tell you one thing for certain: I’m glad none of my teachers had guns when I was in school. If they did, then I probably wouldn’t be here today!