OPINION: Too hot for guns

Photo of Alexander Thornhill.

Alex Thornhill

Last week, over 100 Northeast Ohio schools closed for the day due to temperatures reaching in upper 90s. The schools, mostly inner-city and lower income districts, closed the buildings due to not having a comfortable learning environment for the students.

The buildings lacked a simple function: air conditioning.

There is a program that would fund this, the Every Student Succeeds Act. This act, which would provide a $1 billion grant to create a well-rounded education, improve school conditions and teach the use of technology for digital literacy, would be enough to fix the lower income schools around the country that deal with this problem.

Betsy DeVos, the current secretary of education, wants to use this grant to purchase guns for educators.

This would, at best, be a poor solution to America’s school shooting problem. Arm the teachers, prevent massacres. Instead of investing in things that can actually prevent gun violence in America’s schools, such as improving mental and emotional health in students, we blame things like video games and movies on motivating the violence.  

We ignore the students who seem to distance themselves from everyone. We ignore the at-risk students who show signs of being in emotional distress.

By having DeVos argue that we need armed educators to stop these problems, she says we should just kill these students instead of try to help them.     

Even if we forget the fact that there is not sufficient research out there that supports this idea, how can we even think this is a good use of federal funds?

We can use these funds to support teachers working two jobs in order to survive, the ones who have to buy their own supplies or even give schools the funds to improve their mental health facilities — all of which will actually improve the lives of students and prevent these tragedies from happening.

We have this grant in order to improve the environment of students and educators, to create a safer place to learn. It is shameful when we have to close schools due to simple reasons like a lack of air conditioning.

For DeVos to suggest we use the funding to buy guns instead of fixing that problem, it becomes a disgrace.

This plan is not something meant to improve the lives of students or our schools. It is a lazy and incorrect solution to a problem we already know how to fix.

Alex Thornhill is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected].