Issac J. Bailey | Myrtle Beach-area middle school students sound off on gun debate

A Different PerspectiveJanuary 24, 2013 

Over the past several weeks, I’ve heard from a variety of people about how to best deal with gun violence.

There’s a proposal by State Sen. Lee Bright of Spartanburg to offer a gun training course as an elective in high schools.

“I believe the more guns we have the safer we are, because had there been someone in Newtown with a weapon, had it been a teacher, they could have stopped it early,” he told a TV station.

Reader Jane Mansfield takes the opposite view, saying that even though she frequently visits dangerous neighborhoods as a home health nurse, she has no plans to buy a gun.

“Because even if I trained every day, I probably would not be able to use it against anyone,” she said.

Bright’s and Mansfield’s voices are important.

But they are adults, whose voices have been heard time and again.

I was able to present a survey to a group of 13- to 15-year-olds recently at Forestbrook Middle School to get their thoughts.

The question I posed and their anonymous responses are below.

Question: Some adults are saying teachers should be allowed to carry guns in school just in case they have to protect themselves and their students. How do you feel about that?

Answers:

“No. I don’t think so at all. If a kid got a hold of the gun, it could create even more of a problem.”

“With most teachers, I would feel safe. But with some, I think they are crazy and shouldn’t be trusted with a gun.”

“I don’t feel like it is a good idea since teachers can go crazy, too.”

“A bit scared that that is what we really have come to. I think if teachers do get a gun they should be trained to know how to use it. There should also be some sort of system put into affect so no one else can get it.”

“I don’t really believe in guns/violence, but I think [teachers carrying guns] should be a possibility.”

“Not necessarily. Just get a better security system and two resource officers. If the gun was in the classroom the kids could find it and play with it and maybe even shoot themselves on accident.”

“I’m against that. What if the teacher is the one with the problems? They could easily hurt people.”

“I would feel scared about that.”

“No, because they could shoot another person by accident.”

“Well, if they are going to be allowed to, I think they should have to go to training for it and have a safe place so students can’t get the gun.”

“Well, I don’t think they should be able to because, who knows, they could pull it out on students or something.”

“I think that they shouldn’t carry them around with them in case some wacko kid goes and takes the gun and starts shooting. I think that maybe they should keep a gun in some place private.”

“I think before they do they should get major background checks or not even carry them.”

“Well, they can keep it near them. If they had a gun it might scare the children. But they can have it near/close to them.”

“I don’t like that. Say a teacher gets mad. Whacha going to do? Kill the students?”

“Yes, I think so.”

“It could be good or no, but I don’t think they should be able to because they could use it for other things.”

“I don’t think that they should carry guns. I think it would be scary for students and I just think there should be more than one officer. But if teachers did have that gun, I think that they would behave better than usual.”

“I think that they should have a gun but somewhere where no one can find it. But honestly, if having a gun would be a life or death situation, I would want a gun.”

“I think that teachers should have something to protect themselves with. Maybe not guns, but something they can use to also protect their students.”

“Well, if they did then they would have to get a license for it and that would take awhile, but I don’t really know if that would be good.”

Contact ISSAC J. BAILEY at ibailey@thesunnews.com or at Twitter at @TSN_IssacBailey.

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