More guns in the classroom is not good policy [Opinion] – Houston Chronicle

The national debate on school safety continues. Some groups are calling to arm teachers while others are asking for significant investment into school security. President Donald Trump has called for arming teachers to harden campuses and most recently, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos began considering allowing schools to use federal money to purchase weapons.

Political agendas focused on arming teachers and administrators are driven by misplaced values about the role of schools in communities. They do little to address the underlying problems that lead to school shootings: mental health concerns going unnoticed and unaddressed in public schools and society.

Texas is now at the forefront of the debate on how to protect schools, and our state lawmakers will feel compelled to take action in the upcoming legislative session.

Before I started educating tomorrow’s school leaders, I worked as a school administrator of a Washington, D.C., middle school and as a teacher in a West Baltimore high school. In those jobs, I worried about gun violence and school safety.

Within my first two months as a teacher in Baltimore, a student was shot in the neck on campus. The police responded quickly, as did local politicians seeking the spotlight, but little changed in our security protocols or the way we engaged with families, students and our school police.

As an administrator of a Washington, D.C., middle school where students and their belongings passed through metal detectors, I saw firsthand how students could hide weapons around campus. I also recall the fear of finding an air rifle behind a dumpster and a small pistol with two bullets that made it into the building.

What I learned from these experiences is that no security system is foolproof. Perhaps most importantly, I learned that in each case, there were numerous warning signs displayed by the

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