Teachers deserve better safety precautions for gun violence

Written By Erin Yudt, Editor-Elect

Content Warning: This article discusses mentions of gun violence. 


We are less than 100 days into 2023 and there have been 89 gun related incidents in school. That is nearly one for every day this year and over 74 people have been killed or injured, not including the shooters, according to the K-12 School Shooting Database. Take a moment to let that sink in. 


The events from this past week  have been  traumatizing for most. From the Nashville school shooting to the swatting calls in Oakland and across the state that claimed there was an active shooter. With every mass shooting and shooting threats a school receives the more frustrated I get, but this week was the first time it felt all too real for me.


My older brother is a senior at Slippery Rock University and a secondary history education major. He is currently completing his student teaching at a high school in Mercer County, where we are from, which is about an hour and a half from Pittsburgh. I found out about the shooting calls through my brother, as he was texting me from his school which was under lockdown. It never really hit me that my brother was entering a life-threatening job until that moment. My brother is going to be a teacher. 


Teaching should not be a life-threatening job.


In all these reports of school shootings, we hear time and time again that gun violence is the leading cause of death for children in the U.S. This statement is true and there are no words for how utterly sad that is, but I feel like this should be followed up with the fact that teachers and school staff are at equal, if not more, of a threat from school shootings. Teachers and other staff members are the ones who are supposed to be in front of their students and willing to sacrifice their lives so these innocent children can see their families again. 


Now I am not saying that they should not be willing to take that risk, but we cannot dismiss the danger schoolteachers and staff face and the toll that it takes on them. We can no longer accept that school workers put their lives on the line daily to provide a basic necessity of life: education. 


How did we become so numb to this notion as a society?


My brother was not even prepped on what the school’s policies and procedures were for school threats and shootings, relying on others and using what he remembered from high school, which goes to show how much pressure is put on individual teachers to know what to do in these situations. Teachers should be able to focus on educating their students in math, art and science, not instructing students during a school shooting or the threat of one. Teachers should be focusing on creating the best lesson plans that they can, not preparing for the worst. How can my brother ever be the best teacher he can be when he knows that everything can be taken away from him in an instant? 


Enough is enough. We need change now. There is enough of a teacher shortage as is, and no teacher should lose their life doing their job. Thoughts and prayers are not enough, we need action. We need to assure parents that their child will make it to recess.