Opinion: #ARMMEWITH Campaign Counters Debate on Arming Teachers

By: Ariana Moreno
OwlFeed Journalist

After the chaotic and unfortunate increase in school shootings, there’s been a rise in pressure on teachers. There is now talk (thanks to Donald Trump) about teachers arming themselves in the classroom in case of a school shooting. The objective is to protect themselves and their students, but despite this extra security, not many teachers are thrilled about this idea.unnamed (6)

On Instagram, there has been a rising new hashtag called #ArmMeWith, in which teachers and students are posting photos with messages on what they actually need in the classroom instead of weapons. Currently, the hashtag has over 15,000 posts!

These teachers involved in the campaign are mainly demanding better school supplies and mental health resources, not guns. But there are also tons of memes and other posts that are without a doubt against Trump’s idea to arm teachers.

In order to push more educators to carry weapons Trump wants to give them bonuses. He says that if  “we give them a little bit of a bonus, they’ll frankly feel more comfortable having the gun anyway. But you give them a little bit of a bonus,” according to CNN. According to Trump, this is supposed to urge educators to get training and solve this debate. Yet this still doesn’t change the minds of many that still feel our President should be doing a lot more for these schools.

Here’s a post from @JennSWhite, a teacher who posted with the #ARMMEWITH hashtag:

You want to arm me? #ARMMEWITH:

-students with full stomachs

-school nurses. Plural. Enough for the student population.

-never ending box of expo markers and copy paper.

— Jennifer (@JennSWhite) February 21, 2018

“Arm me with the resources and funding needed to help students experiencing mental health issues, not guns,” the #ArmMeWith movement urges.

One of the most trending/popular posts pertaining the hashtag claims that “As a nation we have hoisted pretty much every social problem onto teachers, expecting schools to be the solution for everything from unemployment to teen pregnancy and the war on drugs, all the while cutting their funding….” – Jason Read

Even the popular TV show Shameless is showing its position on the topic in Season 6 ; Episode 3, showing a scenario where all the teachers in the lunchroom are armed with a gun and it creates a dramatic scene alarming everyone in the room.

I feel that there isn’t enough effort being poured into preventing events like this. I think that we should try to understand how the students, as well as the teachers, feel and find a more practical solution.

For example, there’s a ton of effort put into drug laws. Even personally while I was sick, I had to provide proof of identification and I was even questioned as to why I needed Sudafed. Sudafed is a decongestant for sinuses which can be bought over the counter. However it contains a certain drug that is used to produce methamphetamine. So an 18 year old, with an ID and a obvious stuffy nose, questioned by a woman in a pharmacy coat just because I needed to buy Sudafed. After questioning me she told me it was going to be documented in the computer since its my first time buying it and that each time would be documented as if I did something wrong.

Why are prescription drugs being regulated in such precaution to try to prevent the manufacture of illegal drugs but we still face social issues and gun control?

Although it was just a suggestion at first from Trump, there’s a serious outcry from not just educators, but even students.  

Here at our local school Agua Fria, I had the privilege to understand the insight and new perspectives of our very own students.  

“Why should we allow teachers to have guns within the classroom, and even then, what if there are students who might feel that they can share this responsibility and carry weapons as well only because our teachers are doing the same?” asked Annalysia Flores, an Agua Fria senior.

Another students who wish to be remained anonymous believe that teachers should be allowed to hold weapons within the classroom. However, they said teachers “should not disclose whether or not they do have a gun but should also have clearance or approval from the district and maybe the local police as a precaution.”

Another student, who also wished to remain anonymous, had a different opinion. “I don’t know how I would feel knowing that a teacher may or not be carrying a gun,” the student said. “Not that I’m saying that I don’t trust any of the adults here, there’s just so many things that could go wrong with this. Why can’t we just up the security instead of turning teachers into security guards and teach students precautions if a situation like this happens? And instead of having an ‘acts of kindness week’ once why can’t we teach each other to always be kind? That’s probably why this keeps happening, because these kids probably don’t feel they have any real friends or they can’t stand half of their class so they don’t feel bad for hurting anyone! ”

Due to the sensitivity of the topic, Agua Fria High School teachers will not have any comments.

There are many pros and cons to this, but I feel that this will not change much, especially since unfortunately a number of the criminals responsible were student gunmen.

There is no clear solution to the problem, but arming teachers is not one that should be considered.