Report Proves Arming School Officials Can Do More Harm Than Good

by Cassandra Stone
Image via Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Armed adults are responsible for dozens of gun safety lapses in schools

We’ve all heard it umpteen times by now: the “good guy with a gun” shpiel that gun enthusiasts cling to in the midst of the gun violence crisis plaguing the U.S. Well, a new report from the Associated Press shows that armed adults have been responsible for over 30 gun safety lapses in schools since 2014.

The AP reviewed news reports collected by the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive, which revealed more than 30 publicly reported mishaps since 2014 — all involving guns brought into schools by law enforcement or educators. The news reports included mishaps where guns went off by mistake, were fired by “curious or unruly students,” or were left unattended in school bathrooms and other locations.

This is pretty frightening proof that arming adults in schools — even in an official capacity — isn’t necessarily contributing to a safer school atmosphere. The NRA would have us all believe that armed officials are needed within school grounds to “protect” students from active shooters — yet the AP report lists multiple instances where armed school officials were directly responsible for endangering students due to lapses in gun safety.

In March of this year, a school police officer in Virginia accidentally fired his gun and sent a bullet through the wall of a middle school classroom. In California, a teacher accidentally fired a round into the ceiling of a classroom while demonstrating “firearm safety,” injuring three students after debris fell on them. And in Michigan, a sheriff left a loaded weapon unattended in a locker room — where a sixth grader got ahold of it.

All three of these cases occurred during one month of this year alone.

While one could argue that with tens of thousands of trained officers in schools across the country, lapses in both safety and sound judgment will occur from time to time — no one should have to worry about their child picking up a firearm that was carelessly left in a bathroom, or that if the government votes to arm our kids’ teachers are could unintentionally injure our kids with a gun. It’s terrifying, but this report proves it’s reality.

Lois Berlin, superintendent of the Alexandria, Virginia school where the officer’s discharged weapon put a bullet hole through the wall of a classroom, sums up the entire issue of arming teachers and other officials in schools with one poignant question:

“If this can happen with a highly trained police officer, why would we give teachers guns?”