Guns in school, an atrocious policy (Society’s Slideshow)

By Dave Palmer

Michigan Legislature is once again demonstrating incredible lack of judgement and perhaps intelligence as they passed legislation that according to MLive would allow concealed weapons carriers to bring guns into places formerly forbidden. These terribly dangerous places where apparently no one is safe include stadiums, schools, and places of worship. The law also includes shortening the approval process from 60 days to 45 days, mandates a temporary 180-day permit be issued after 45 days if for *some reason* a background check takes longer than that, and allows current permit holders to renew if they “certify that they have completed the full 98 rounds of firing-range requirements”, but authorities cannot require proof.

I’d like to know what it is that legislators in Lansing are smoking, because apparently it erases all conception of reality and allows you to believe a construct of your imagination is actually real. Nah, probably would be better to avoid it.

The last thing that I need as an educator is for people to be allowed to bring guns into school. Schools are supposed to be a place of learning, a place that nurtures civility and encourages cogent diplomatic discourse over using violence to solve all of life’s problems.

I can see it now: Me sitting at my desk filling out report cards when Johnny’s dad walks in and asks me to reconsider his child’s failing grade as he lifts up the front of his shirt to reveal a reason that I should agree with him. I would try to remain calm and show him all of the assignments that were turned in late or incomplete, the low test scores, the zeroes for all the review sheets and other homework assignments Johnny refused to do. But, Johnny’s dad insists that I change his grade because he’s on the football team, has a job, and simply didn’t have time to do an hour’s worth of homework twice a week. If I were a concealed weapons carrier, I could also show him another reason why I disagree with his assessment of his son’s performance.

Or I could call the police liaison officer who would be able to do nothing except corroborate the fact that I was threatened.

Alas, I am not, nor do I have a desire to become a concealed weapons carrier. But, this situation is just as likely in any school in Michigan, whether teachers decide to get their concealed weapons permits or not. The really egregious part is that if something like the above situation happened, the teacher would have no recourse except to file a police report against Johnny’s dad for exhibiting threatening behavior. That might result in a personal protection order at the most, which would then be issued to Johnny’s dad complete with the teacher’s home address, home phone number, place of work, and work phone number along with what their car looks like and the license plate number. I wonder how that one’s would  turn out.

If I wanted to have an occupation in which I was required to be ready to lay my life down protecting the community, I would have become a police officer, a firefighter, or joined the military. I became a teacher with the understanding that I would not have to carry a weapon or be required to die to protect my class.

Allowing concealed weapons on school grounds will only ensure more casualties as teachers who carry will be required to use their weapons to defend the school, instead of calling the authorities and immediately instituting a lockdown or evacuation procedure that might save lives. Shoot first, ask questions later.

Additionally, private citizens like teachers do not have to follow protocol in the manner a police officer might. (i.e. identify yourself as a police officer, issue a warning, and shoot to kill only if you have no other choice.) I wonder how a crazed gunman might respond to “I’m a teacher, drop your weapon and put your hands behind your back.” My guess is that the teacher will have to pull the trigger first, and then come to terms with taking a life later.

One final question: Are teachers going to get a mandatory two weeks paid leave every time they have to shoot someone as they undergo psych evaluations like police officers do? Because if they do, I might be inclined to change my mind about becoming a concealed weapon carrier.