Archive for August 19, 2008

If This Was My School, There’d Be One Less Teacher

August 19, 2008



A Texas school district will let teachers bring guns to class this fall, the district’s superintendent said on Friday, in what experts said appeared to be a first in the United States.

The board of the small rural Harrold Independent School District unanimously approved the plan and parents have not objected, said the district’s superintendent, David Thweatt.

The reason I would quit is that it would only be a matter of time until a student steals one of the guns and shoots someone. And trust me, as a teacher, I am telling you, they will steal one.

I love the rational, too:

Thweatt said it is a matter of safety.

“We have a lock-down situation, we have cameras, but the question we had to answer is, ‘What if somebody gets in? What are we going to do?” he said. “It’s just common sense.”

How many unbelievably stupid things get done every day in the name of “common sense?” Things aren’t as simple as Thweatt thinks. To start, the chances of a school shooting occurring at all are extremely remote. Thweatt has a better chance of getting hit by lighting. Second, that there is a gun or two on campus may or may not help the situation any more than the current protections. Third, his possible solution to the highly speculative threat creates all kinds of potential harms: Teacher loses gun, or teacher loses mind, or student steals gun, or gun accidentally discharges. Finally, in my mind, the slight chance there might be a school shooting and the even slighter chance that the gun might prevent it are far, far outweighed by the much more likely injuries caused by the gun itself. In a cliche, the cure is worse than the disease.