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I want to be a teacher, but I won’t carry a gun

Ammunition for sale at a sporting goods store in Maine (Beth Criado-Band/YJI)

ST. LOUIS, Missouri, U.S.A. –With a February 24 message on Twitter, U.S. President Donald Trump started a new debate about whether teachers should carry guns.
“Armed Educators (and trusted people who work within a school) love our students and will protect them. Very smart people. Must be firearms adept & have annual training. Should get yearly bonus. Shootings will not happen again – a big & very inexpensive deterrent. Up to States,” Trump tweeted, 10 days after a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead and many others hurt.
When something like the shooting in Parkland, Florida happens in the United States, it seems like our country divides along political lines.
This time, it was over citizens’ access to guns.
But when this tweet came out, Trump began a new debate: whether teachers should carry guns in a classroom.
Right now, I am studying to become a teacher, and this terrified me.
I would never work in a school where teachers could have guns. During the Parkland shooting, there was a resource officer who had a gun. That isn’t the problem. The problem is arming trusted professionals who work with children.
If classrooms had guns, it would always be on students’ minds. They would constantly look at the safe, wondering how the teacher was going to use it. If students were acting out, there would be fear. Teachers seem to lash out all the time, and with a gun in the classroom, what’s stopping them from shooting children?
It wouldn’t be a comfortable classroom, but one built on fear and tension. A gun would always be there. A teacher could always threaten to use it. People could break in and steal it. It wouldn’t be a safe place anymore.
When I’m a teacher, I will always protect and take a bullet for any of my students. There would be no doubt in my mind.
When I signed up for teaching, I told myself that I would try my best to give students a great education and protect them at all costs, both in the school and any outside issues that I could help them with. I want them to feel as comfortable and safe as possible while getting an education.
If teachers are allowed to have guns in the school, nobody is safe. It doesn’t help anything and hurts everything. It hurts the trust teachers and students have, being comfortable in a classroom, and makes our education a warzone.
School shootings happen, and it’s a tragedy in our country. It’s heartbreaking that not even students can feel safe in their own classroom. But the issue isn’t arming teachers. It should be figuring out a way we can have stricter background checks for guns and ban the use of assault rifles.
We need to come up with solutions that can help our country with our gun problem. Shootings aren’t just happening in a school setting, they’re happening everywhere.
Arming teachers isn’t the solution, and neither is arming everyone else.

Sydney Hallett is a Senior Reporter for Youth Journalism International.

Want to read more? Here are the voices of YJI students worldwide since the Parkland, Florida mass shooting.

We were fine until the fire alarm went off, By Christine O’Hara, Alexandria, Virginia, USA, March 10, 2018

Gun violence is not about one nation, but human lives, By Amber Shakil, Lahore, Pakistan, March 8, 2018

Shootings: Florida students can lead us from apathy, By Garret Reich, Glenwood, Iowa, USA, March 8, 2018

Why won’t Americans put an end to mass shootings? By Alyce Collett, Melbourne, Australia, March 5, 2018

Students deserve respect, not punishment, for walkout, by Luke Ashworth, Bristol, Connecticut, USA, March 5, 2018

Millenials take aim at guns, by Sean Monteith, Lewiston, Maine, USA, March 4, 2018

Arming teachers might help, By Selvaganeshamoorthi Balakrishnan, Singaporem Feb. 25, 2018

Parkland echoes the massacre that ended UK school shootings, By Owen Ferguson, Doune, Scotland, UK, Feb. 23, 2018