Sign the petition: Don’t militarize our schools

After The Covenant School shooting that left 3 children and 3 adults dead, Tennessee and federal lawmakers have responded–but instead of gun reform to address a reduction in mass shootings, GOP lawmakers are introducing legislation to bring more guns into schools by arming teachers and proposing an increase in school police.

A number of studies suggest these policies are not actually effective in reducing the likelihood of school shootings, or disarming shooters. But they may be likely to increase violence in schools.

A 2021 study that examined the past nearly 40 years of school shootings found that the rate of deaths was 2.83 times greater in schools with armed guards present. A number of national studies also find that armed guards lead to more arrests and expulsions in a way that disproportionately impacts Black students and other students of color and disabled students.

The idea of arming teachers has been dispelled by a number of researchers, experts, and educators who argue without the proper training and preparation, arming teachers could pose an additional danger if weapons are mishandled or fall into the wrong hands, sets an extremely unfair expectation on teachers in moments of crisis, and would heighten levels of anxiety and negatively affect a school’s climate.

Despite all of this, recent years have seen a drastic increase in armed police in schools, with a 2020 report finding from Florida that the number of cops in schools almost doubled after Parkland. In addition, state legislatures are seeing more success with arming teachers, with Ohio recently passing legislation that requires no more than 24 hours of training for a teacher to be able to wield a gun on campus.

As lawmakers in Tennessee and across the country continue to try to chart a path forward in the wake of recent school shootings, representatives should feel the pressure to pursue evidence-based interventions to school shootings, like passing meaningful gun reform legislation and avoid hiding behind policies that hurt vulnerable students, and don’t meaningfully address the epidemic of gun violence in American schools.

Sign the petition: De-militarize our schools

Participating Organizations
Daily Kos
Democracy for America Advocacy Fund
Democratic Values
Democratic Lieutenant Governors Association
Forward Blue
National Campaign for Justice
Solidarity Action