Gun laws and classrooms
Written by: Lindsay Walton
After the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, many people have engaged in heated discussions concerning the introduction of guns into the classroom environment.
As a future educator of young children, I have a developed and passionate opinion on this matter, but I do acknowledge that opposing opinions hold credence and are not to be discredited. In my opinion, weapons of any kind have no place within a safe classroom environment.
There are several different issues that could transpire by having a weapon present: the first, and most obvious, would be of a child laying their hands on that weapon and hurting himself, herself or someone else, either on purpose or by accident. There are precautions that could be taken to help prevent this, but it would always be a possibility.
The second reason would be the psychological effect that having a weapon in the classroom would have on the students. To ensure that the gun could not reach a child’s hand, the safest place to have it reside would be on the teacher’s self. Great teachers yearn to create a classroom community that translates safety and security to their students; wearing a gun on their person every day does not translate safety to a child’s mind.
To a young person, guns are synonymous with pain and death. While children might understand that the gun would be used to “stop a bad guy,” the constant reminder that a dangerous person could attack them at any moment is a heavy burden to bear while trying to learn and develop appropriately. Children have a hard time focusing on their learning when they are hungry — how much harder would it be to focus when they are scared that something dangerous might happen?
The third reason weapons have no place in the classroom is that, undoubtedly, young students would find themselves threatened. Whether they think the teacher might get mad and use the gun to punish them or whether a teacher uses the gun to bully his or her students into submission, the students would be threatened. Teaching is a hard, emotional job, and while it pains me to even think of this, someone would eventually use the weapon as a means of scaring the children for whatever reason.
The damage such a thing would have on a child would be traumatic in many ways.
It is because of these reasons that I, as an early childhood major, future educator and mother, would never want to carry or see a teacher carry a gun or weapon of any kind within the classroom.
Lindsay Walton is a senior at Oklahoma Christian University