Betsy DeVos is thinking about using Department of Education funds to buy guns for schools. Arizona Ed Supe Diane Douglas thinks state law already allows teachers to carry guns, though others beg to differ. Battles over school employees packing heat are raging across the country.
If guns are going to be put into the hands of teachers or anyone else other than school police, first, the state needs to absolve the employees of legal liability if any of them injure or kill a student or another innocent bystander.
As a retired teacher it hurts me to write about this, but it's just a simple fact. If school employees with minimal training in gun use during crisis situations are allowed to carry weapons in school, one of them is going to shoot the wrong person. It's a statistical inevitability. Police shoot innocent people, and they get far more weapons training than a school employee is likely to have. In the heat of the moment with fear and adrenaline raging, some teacher or administrator or custodian is going to choose the wrong person to aim at, or a shaky hand will jerk the gun in the wrong direction, and an innocent person will get hurt, or worse.
A school employee who shoots the wrong person will live with the mistake for the rest of his or her life, as will the family of the person accidentally injured or killed. But should the employee be held responsible — sued by the injured family or prosecuted in a court of law? The answer is no. The employee should be dealt with far more leniently than a law enforcement officer whose job it is to deal with situations involving violence and guns. People who work at school are trained to teach or administrate or perform other school-related duties, not to handle fire arms in a shooting situation.
The responsible party is the state legislature, school district or school which allowed semi-trained employees to carry lethal weapons. Let families sue the guilty institutions. I hope the families win millions.
If the employee who was holding the gun is so devastated by making a terrible mistake that he or she is psychologically unable to work at a school, that person should get full salary until retirement, as well as health benefits which include mental health care if needed, no questions asked.
Of course, there's a better solution than giving school employees James Bond-style licenses to injure or kill.
God damn it, don't give guns to school employees!