Arming teachers would put Black and Latino kids in danger

President Trump wants to arm teachers to prevent or reduce the carnage from future school shootings like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida this month.

“A teacher would have shot the hell out of him before he knew what had happened,” Trump said last week about the attacker in Florida. He’s not the only one who thinks this is a good idea: Several states are already considering legislation to allow guns to be carried into schools, ostensibly to protect kids.

But putting guns into the hands of schoolteachers would be extraordinarily dangerous for Black and Latino students, who are already often forced to try to learn in hostile environments where they’re treated as threats.

How long would it be if Trump’s plan became a reality before a teacher shoots a Black student and then invokes the “I feared for my life” defense we continually hear from police officers who misinterpret young Black people’s behavior with deadly consequences?

A mountain of data on persistent racial biases and disparities in education and on police presence in schools — as well as a recent increase in racial harassment in schools — makes it clear that kids of color won’t be safe if their teachers are carrying weapons.

 

Stacey Patton is an assistant professor of multimedia journalism at Morgan State University and the author of Spare The Kids: Why whupping children won’t save Black America.

This commentary is an excerpt from the full article in the NNPA Every student succeeds act in the Field, March 8, 2018.