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More than half a million teachers are keen to be armed in class to stop a school attacker in their tracks, according to a survey on mass shooting bloodbaths at the nation’s schools.
The Rand Corporation study found that a fifth of respondents said arming teachers would make classrooms safer, while more than half said they would become more dangerous.
That would amount to 550,000 of the country’s 3 million K-12 teachers packing heat in class, if they were allowed, researchers said.
The survey comes on the heels of 300 shootings at US schools last year, which left some 330 people dead or injured, the study said.
A fifth of America’s teachers support arming educators, but more than half say schools would become less safe
School teachers and administrators fire their guns at a training session in Commerce City, Colorado
They include the gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, last May.
In March, trans shooter Audrey Hale’s blasted into a Nashville school, shooting and killing three nine-year-olds and three staffers.
Conservatives and liberals have long rowed about whether arming teachers would deter attackers or give children a better chance in such an outrage.
Republican politicians in Texas, Tennessee, and other states this year proposed bills to allow teachers to carry firearms in class.
The Texas plan involved raising a teacher’s salary by $25,000 if they became such a ‘sentinel.’
Former president Donald Trump, a Republican who seeks the presidency again in 2024, has backed arming teachers, saying military veterans and those with firearms training were ideal.
Everytown for Gun Safety, a campaign group, says more guns in schools only raises the chance of somebody getting shot.
‘Schools are places for books and backpacks, not weapons,’ the group says.
Heather Schwartz, an author of the 28-page RAND report, says teachers are divided on the hot-button issue.
‘Even with the unfortunate regularity of gun violence in US schools … only 5 percent of teachers overall selected gun violence as their largest safety concern,’ said Schwartz.
White teachers were more likely than black teachers to say arming educators would make schools safer.
Male teachers in rural schools were the most likely to say they would personally carry a firearm at school, if they were allowed.
About half of teachers supported other ways to make schools safer, including locks on doors, ID badges, cameras, and security staff.
Only 5 percent of teachers said these measures dented the school atmosphere.
An ‘active shooter’ training session at the Harry S Truman High School in Levittown, Pennsylvania
Teachers need pencils, not pistols: a sign from a protest rally in New Mexico against arming educators
Though teachers are alarmed by gun violence, their bigger worry was bullying, said the nationwide survey taken late last year.
‘Everyday school violence is a concern for teachers,’ Schwartz added.
‘Bullying, not active shooters, was teachers’ most common top safety concern, followed by fights and drugs.’
Families and loved ones last week mourned the loss of 19 children and two teachers shot dead in Uvalde, on the anniversary of the bloodbath.
There have been at least 25 mass killing incidents in the US so far in 2023, leaving at least 127 people dead, not including perpetrators who died, according to a database maintained by Northeastern University.
That makes 2023 the worst year since 2006 for the rate of mass killing incidents.
Firearms are the biggest killer of children in the US and so far this year, nearly 600 minors have died by guns.
As of 2020, the firearm mortality rate for children under 19 is 5.6 per 100,000 deaths. The next comparable is Canada, with .08 per 100,000 deaths.