To the Editor:
In response to the recent article on proposed measures to arm teachers following the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., (“Parkland-Inspired Bill on Guns, School Safety Heads to Florida Governor’s Desk,” March 7, 2018) we must focus greater attention on the consequences that increased gun presence in schools would have on minority populations. Although this coverage touches on concerns that civil rights groups have expressed following the proposed bill to add more law enforcement to schools, this point remains a minor feature of the national discussion.
Questions concerning race must be brought to the forefront of this conversation. If we are to contemplate whether trained teachers should be permitted to carry guns, should we not also question which teachers would be permitted to do so? What would such a selection process look like? How would this affect racially diverse students and teachers? What additional problems would the mixture of race and guns force schools to contend with?
It is bad enough that arming teachers has been presented as a plausible idea. It is worse that it has been communicated to the American public absent of these racial considerations. If the conversation surrounding armed teachers is to continue, we must highlight these omissions. As a nation, we must not only ensure that schools become safer for students and teachers, but that educators do not become complicit with increased racial surveillance and profiling of already vulnerable student populations.
George Washington University
A version of this article appeared in the March 21, 2018 edition of Education Week as The Implications of Arming Teachers