The Herald Editorial Board has had its differences with President Trump, to say the least. Arming teachers, an idea he has so resolutely pushed in the days after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is just one more.
We suspect that the president is not fazed by yet another ideological breach. But there are groups out there, some of whom he claims to respect, who, like we do, think giving teachers guns to subdue a killer in the chaos of a mass shooting is a dangerous idea. Maybe they can make a persuasive case to the president. We’re with them.
Police chiefs are weighing in. James Craig, who heads the police department in Detroit, is in favor of arming some teachers. He proposes a thorough vetting process, and if the teacher is ex-military or a former law-enforcement officer, so much the better. We think that’s a big, and in many schools, possibly an insurmountable “if.” New York’s police commissioner, Bill Bratton, called arming teachers “the height of lunacy.”
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Law enforcement professionals, generally, want to leave the firepower to the pros, ensuring that there are properly armed and trained officers on site, the egregious lapses of Broward Sheriff’s deputies assigned to Stoneman Douglas, notwithstanding. We don’t believe that’s the model others will follow.
The statistics, surveys and stories are clear, stark. Young black and brown students, both boys and girls, are disproportionately punished for minor infractions — and punished more severely than their white classmates for the same misbehavior. Remember, this is where the “school-to-prison pipeline” begins, unfortunately.
And this: Studies find that young, white, female teachers are often frightened of black boys, even the youngest of students, no matter the behavior.
So just imagine. Many black parents already have.
Sadly, this is not a constituency that’s likely to get this president’s ear. He has made his animosity toward African Americans, and Hispanic immigrants and Muslims, perfectly, indisputably clear.
These concerned parents and students need to be heard, but they best take it up at the state and local levels.
Here’s what VoteVets, a progressive veterans organization tweeted about arming teachers: “It increases the chance of kids dying in crossfire, adds to confusion with SWAT teams trying to identify an armed assailant and greatly increases odds of an accidental shooting.”
They ought to know.
As awful as the idea of a shooter armed with a semi-automatic, or automatic, rifle is, layering chaos over mayhem is, incredibly, even worse.
In a speech Friday to CPAC, his base, President Trump crowed with the certainty of the clueless, that, “A teacher would have shot the hell out of him before he knew what happened,” had an armed adult confronted teenage killer Nikolas Cruz at Stoneman Douglas.
Teachers aren’t buying it. They’ve got enough to do besides take down a deranged gunman. They’ve proven their bravery time and again in such school shootings across the country shielding their students, as three late educators did in Parkland, with their bodies.
No, let the pros do the protecting.