By Cristina Corriveau
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Following recent school shootings, including the one on Feb. 14 in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students and teachers were killed, students and faculty members are discussing whether teachers should carry firearms in classrooms.
“I would never come to school and I’d be very afraid to come in and would honestly change to online classes” if teachers carried guns in classrooms, said Treasure Baylor, 18, a Camden County College student from Winslow Township. “There is a chance that a teacher could accidentally shoot a student. Or what if a student gets a hold of the gun that the teacher is supposed to have and ends up shooting up the school. So, we shouldn’t have them that easily around at all.”
CCC Communications Professor Drew Jacobs, 57, stated, “I would not be in favor of having the responsibility to be an armed faculty member to patrol or look out for situations, so I’m not in favor of arming myself and I’m not in favor of having other people in the classroom armed at all. Whether it be professors, faculty or even students, I’d rather not have guns in a classroom.”
As to what a better option would be, Jacobs said, “There may not be one single way, I know that putting more guns in the environment is not a solution. I agree with the conversations that include that we need better mental health screening. I would also say that assault rifles and other guns that are not necessarily used for everyday purposes such as hunting, we need to have greater restriction on gun access.”
President Donald Trump wrote on his Twitter account, “Highly trained, gun adept, teachers/coaches would solve the problem instantly, before police arrive. GREAT DETERRENT!” Trump also claimed, “If a potential ‘sicko shooter’ knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school. Cowards won’t go there … problem solved. Must be offensive, defense alone won’t work!”
Jacobs said about Trump’s point of view, “I totally disagree with him and I don’t think he’s making his position a well-educated position not knowing all the facts. It’s not as simple as he presumes it to be.”
The National Rifle Association has been pushing for a bill to pass that would allow firearms on college campuses, according to Every Town Research. Most states have rejected such a bill; however, more than 10 states allow guns on college campuses and two states (Colorado and Utah) allow concealed carry permit holders to carry guns on college campuses. Since 2013, nearly 300 school shootings have occurred.