Alternatives to arming teachers

Michael Davis, Features Editor

After the recent Parkland school shooting, discussions across America and on social media on how to keep schools safe have been thrust into the spotlight. Some ideas, such as arming teachers with guns, seem to have been taken straight out of a young adult dystopian novel.  Some ideas, quite frankly, are ridiculous.

Could you imagine trying to learn about quadratic equations all the while there is a pistol just resting in your teacher’s desk, or worse, on their hip right where you could see it? Could you imagine if it were to accidentally somehow go off and injure someone? Could you imagine if a teacher were to misplace it? These questions are serious concerns for high school teachers and students. Even if the questions asked were all fear-mongering exaggerations, other logic would still find guns impractical. Besides, armed teachers sound like something that belongs to a prison or a military academy, neither which of any of us are enrolled at.

There are alternative ways we can take to secure schools and ensure their safety without throwing a bunch of more guns into the fray.

After all, fighting fire with fire only burns the village down.

That all being said, a big thumbs down to guns does not mean West, or any other school for the matter, should be a sitting duck to terrorists. There are other methods of turning up the safety meter at school without turning it into a militarized environment.

Here’s an idea: What West needs is a system that utilizes key card technology (such as ones provided by Magicard or IDenticard). A system that emphasizes the use of school identification cards would solve many of the challenges administration faces.

With scanners at every entrance to the school, access to the building would be restricted without an ID card. School outsiders would have to go through the main office like usual.

Another feature of the scanners would be them acting as a time stamp in which tardies were assigned if the ID was scanned after a certain period. This would eliminate the timely act of having to write tardy slips all the time. If there was ever an issue, teachers would still be able to correct it through some type of override code through the computer.

These key cards could also serve as reminders to be punctual. The unexcused time spent outside of class would have to be made up if it exceeded a certain amount of time in order to graduate on time. For example, if you spent 15 minutes outside of class every day one week, after exceeding the 30 minute grace limit, you have 45 minutes of your time that you owe back to the school. This could result in detention hours, volunteer hours, etc. Bumping up the usability of identification cards from simply getting lunch or checking out a book would greatly improve several factors, alongside school safety, at West High.

While it is important to note that these type of discussions (referring to arming teachers) have not been the primary focus of the Davenport Community Schools District, discourse over the topic seemed worthwhile. Keeping the students safe and secured in a safe learning environment has always been a priority of school districts, and as times change and technology evolves, the Davenport Community District needs to follow suit.