More than half a million teachers want to be armed in class to stop a school attacker, according to a survey of mass school shootings across the country.
The Rand Corporation learn found that a fifth of respondents said arming teachers would make classrooms safer, while more than half said it would make classrooms more dangerous.
That would mean, according to researchers, that 550,000 of the country’s 3 million K-12 teachers would host heat in class if they were allowed to.
The survey follows 300 US school shootings last year that killed or injured about 330 people, the study said.
A fifth of American teachers support arming educators, but more than half say it would make schools less safe
School teachers and principals fire their guns at a training session in Commerce City, Colorado
They include the shooter who killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, last May.
In March, transgender gunman Audrey Hale stormed into a Nashville school, shooting dead three nine-year-olds and three staff members.
Conservatives and liberals have long argued whether arming teachers would deter attackers or give children a better chance at such a crime.
Republican politicians in Texas, Tennessee and other states this year proposed legislation that would allow teachers to carry firearms in class.
The Texas plan called for a $25,000 increase in a teacher’s salary if they became such a “guard.”
Former President Donald Trump, a Republican who is seeking the presidency again in 2024, has supported gun instructors, saying military veterans and those with firearms training are ideal.
Everytown for Gun Safety, a campaign group, says more guns in schools only increase the risk of someone being shot.
“Schools are places for books and backpacks, not guns,” the group says.
Heather Schwartz, an author of the 28-page RAND report, says teachers are divided on this thorny issue.
“Despite the unfortunate regularity of gun violence in US schools … overall, only 5 percent of teachers cite gun violence as their top safety concern,” Schwartz said.
White teachers were more likely than black teachers to believe that arming educators would make schools safer.
Male teachers in rural schools were the most likely to say they would personally carry a firearm to school if allowed to do so.
About half of the teachers supported other ways to make schools safer, including door locks, ID cards, cameras and security guards.
Only 5 percent of teachers said these measures affected the school atmosphere.
An “active shooter” training session at Harry S. Truman High School in Levittown, Pennsylvania
Teachers need pencils, not guns: a sign of a protest in New Mexico against arming educators
Although teachers are concerned about gun violence, their biggest concern is bullying, according to the nationwide survey late last year.
“Everyday violence in schools is a concern for teachers,” Schwartz added.
“Bullying, non-active shootings, was the most common teacher safety hazard, followed by fights and drugs.”
Families and loved ones mourned the loss of 19 children and two teachers who were shot dead in Uvalde on the anniversary of the massacre last week.
According to a Northeastern University database, there have been at least 25 mass killings in the United States so far in 2023, killing at least 127 people, not including the perpetrators who died.
This makes 2023 the worst year since 2006 in terms of mass killings.
Guns are the number one killer of children in the US and so far this year nearly 600 children have died from guns.
In 2020, the gun fatality rate for children under the age of 19 is 5.6 per 100,000 deaths. The closest comparable figure is Canada with 0.08 per 100,000 deaths.