Editorials

Math class might tell you whether arming teachers is smart

Reading, 'riting and Rugers? O'Fallon IL school board member wants armed teachers.
Reading, 'riting and Rugers? O'Fallon IL school board member wants armed teachers.

School shootings are so scary that we find ourselves debating whether to arm teachers. O'Fallon Elementary District 90 school board member Steve Springer is pushing that agenda in his school district and others in the O'Fallon area.

Maybe our math teachers are the best ones to address this issue. They would tell us that there are a lot of things parents should worry about before being concerned that their child will be shot at school.

There were 253 students shot, with 104 killed, since 1996 in mass shooting events in the U.S., including Parkland. With 50.7 million students attending about 180 days a year, the odds of a student being shot on any particular day are 1 in 738 million.

The odds of them being killed in an accident with a school bus are about 1 in 115 million, or more than six times greater. The leading cause of death for school-aged children is accidental injury, with odds of 1 in 1.2 million on any given day.

There are 20 to 30 mass shootings a year, of which one on average is at a school. Mass school shootings have become rarer since the early 1990s.

So what happens to the odds if you multiply the weapons as teachers bring firearms into schools? No kid ever stole something from a teacher's desk, or purse? No kid might wrestle a weapon from a teacher?

As we've said before, if anyone is going to confront an armed intruder, better that it be a trained professional than a well-intentioned amateur.

School board member Matt Lloyd has a military background and said it well: "When we're talking about close quarters within a building, I mean that's what it is — it's combat. I tend to think you need more than a CCW and a couple classes. Police are trained to do this, and every morning when that police officer straps on his Kevlar and his holster he is fully trained and mentally prepared that he may have to draw his weapon and the consequences that come from that and I'm not sure that's what I want my teachers thinking about when they go into the classroom. I want them mentally prepared to teach."

Springer is asking Shiloh, O'Fallon High and Central school boards to all consider backing efforts to arm teachers. Before any of them go down that path, we suggest they do the math.

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