Arm Us Teachers, But With Pepper Spray

I'm all for arming teachers, but not with guns.Arm teachers with key chain pepper spray containers.You may have seen them. They're about the size of a lipstick, they attach to a purse, key chain, backpack or belt, and they come in cute colors. They can shoot streams up to 12 feet and fill a room with noxious gas in nothing flat. They require little training. And they don't usually kill people.Tears streamed down my face as I watched Emma Gonzalez end her 6-minute-and-20-second speech standing silently at the March for Our Lives, the time it took lowlife Nikolas Cruz to kill 17 and injure 14 with an AR-15.These poor kids have been through hell. But they want the killing to stop. So why should solutions lead to more killing?I'm a teacher, and I can tell you there are many problems with arming teachers with guns.One that sticks in my gut is where do you keep the gun? In a thigh holster, in your desk drawer, in a locked cabinet? By the time you gather your wits, get the gun and get ready to use it, you and your entire class could be dead. I'm a college teacher, so I change rooms often. Shall I schlep a gun from class to class?A key chain pepper spray could be at my fingertips. I could use it within seconds.Even if a gun was accessible, who would be willing to use it? Possibly against a current or former student? I don't know that I can answer that question, and, quite frankly, I don't want to have to find out.Classrooms can be chaotic. They can be emotional. They include conflicting personalities. Leaving it up to teachers to make life and death decisions asks them to do something against their nature. We're here to nurture lives, not take them.The finality of a gun would cause me to think twice, possibly waiting too long to decide. I would be much more likely to act quickly if I had pepper spray. The decision to take a life would be closer to moot.Although pepper spray can be lethal, death is more likely if the person is restrained, according to the ACLU's report Pepper Spray Update: More Fatalities, More Questions. The report found one death for every 600 incidents where someone was pepper sprayed by police.  Continue reading...

Copyright The Dallas Morning News
Contact Us