Based on what I have read, the incidents of violence in schools where guns are involved have been the result of a set of combined problems: (a) literal “dungeons and dragons” fantasy thinking probably prompted by virtual reality overexposure, (b) serious lack of reality based thinking, probably enhanced by the use of drugs, © access, almost unrestricted access, to weapons of all kinds, and, probably worst of all (d) consistent bullying by members of the school community. While these problems might not exist in every case, I think they are to be considered.
I would rather arm teachers with a collaborative team based approach to student observation and behavior management such that an ongoing relationship with counseling staff was a primary rule. This would mean breaking down the gate keeping and the almost impenetrable boundaries that now exist around the walls of most classrooms.
This is not to blame teachers in any way for the problem of life threatening violence in the classroom. Rather it is to point out what the real job of teaching, especially in the diverse public school systems has become. Teaching in that environment today has entered the realm of program management with each student a separate and distinct project within that overall program. Successful outcomes, the success of each student, requires information.
In that environment, the potentially destructive student is much more apt to be profiled and resolved before a disaster occurs.
I have a long list of do’s and don’ts for classroom conduct. The top of that list is any words or actions which tend to belittle any other person, or which tend to rob any other student of their education time. Patterns of behavior become very apparent very quickly, even isolation, and those patterns need to be acted upon immediately and effectively through a team effort involving solid authority coupled with nurturing and support.
Armed intervention is an absolute last resort that will impact the lives of everyone involved. While I agree that there has to be a consciousness that, even with our best effort, it may be necessary in an extreme case. I firmly believe that arming teachers in the classroom means that, given the well known fight or flight reaction that we know precludes rational thought, we will have lost the game of education … period.