A Colorado school district has voted to permit public school teachers to carry concealed firearms on campus as of last Wednesday. Many parents believe that enabling teachers to bear arms will ensure the safety of their children. However, many argue that putting guns in the classroom would be dangerous for students.
Currently, all Colorado public schools are designated “gun free” zones. According to The Gazette Newspaper, Hanover District twenty-eight in Colorado voted three to two to allow public school teachers to carry guns on campus. The provision comes as Hanover teachers have expressed concern regarding the increasing number of marijuana growers in the area. Board member Michael Lawson believes, “Cuban and Colombian cartels are buying up land to grow marijuana” within two miles of Hanover’s schools. More worrisome is the fact that the rurally located district is an average twenty-five-minute drive from the nearest law enforcement facility if an emergency should ever occur.
Although marijuana growers have purchased land within two miles of the schools in Hanover District, school board President and Army veteran Mark McPherson believes that cartels buying these properties are only rumors. McPherson states that the community is undecided on the issue of arming public school teachers and believes the better option to be hiring a professional resource officer for protection. Lawson argues, however, that arming teachers is necessary to protect from the possible drug violence from marijuana growers, as he states that gun free zone schools are an “invitation” to criminal behaviors.
If passed, the provision to allow teachers to carry guns on public school property would require instructors to obtain a concealed weapons permit and fulfill forty-six hours of firearm training, yearly refresh training, and psychological examinations, as reported by the New York Post Newspaper. The training is estimated to cost the school well over three thousand dollars. However, the expected cost of hiring a resource official, as McPherson proposed, is a whopping fifty-five thousand dollars.
Aside from the financial implications to the district’s schools, many parents fear teachers will be insufficiently trained to defend children in the case of a crisis and possibly misfire in an emergency. Concerned parents also believe that allowing teachers to bear arms in the classroom could result in unsafe situations for their children, as it may enable teachers to harm vulnerable youth. Although some may argue that the psychological examinations and training teachers would be required to complete would prevent disasters, many cases have been reported of public school teachers causing physical or sexual abuse to students after having spent years pursuing a college degree to teach, as reported by USA Today.
The district will soon vote on whether to allow teachers to carry concealed firearms on public school campuses. With parents and teachers split on the issue, the vote has the potential to change the U.S. public school safety system.