I Lost My Daughter in the Parkland Shooting. Arming Teachers Is Not the Answer | Opinion

My daughter Jaime was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. She was a beautiful girl both inside and out. She was kind, hard-working, compassionate, caring and loving. She was a graceful dancer and an amazing student. She wanted to become a physical therapist and help children with special needs. She was brutally murdered by an unstable former student who had an AR-15. I think that qualifies me as someone who is entitled to speak my mind and give my opinions about guns.

We have a major gun problem in this country. There are loopholes in background checks. One can be a mere 18 years old to buy one. Most states do not have red flag laws that allow law enforcement to take away guns from those who show signs of potential violence.

Governor Rick Scott created a commission to investigate the second by second, minute by minute actions that took place (or didn't take place) that horrible day on February 14th, 2018. There were so many mistakes. My daughter should still be here with us, and it is heart wrenching to see the details, hear the details, and rehash the details of that horrific day. The results of the investigation were shared publicly over a four day period from Nov 13th through Nov 16th. Then on Dec 13th and 14th, the commission came together again to share their recommendations, which again became public.

The commission voted 13-1 for the arming of teachers in school. I am totally against this idea. I understand that a person who is armed with a gun must be stopped. Teachers are not the people to do this. Here is what is important to understand:

1. Most teachers do not want to be police officers, they want to teach. They are also not qualified to be police officers, they are qualified to teach.

2. There are many students in every school who have behavior issues. Do we want teachers, when they feel threatened, to pull out a gun?

3. There are many unstable kids/teens in school. When arming teachers, you are putting guns right in the middle of the environment that you are trying to keep them out of. Do we want to take the chance that these high-risk students could commit a violent act with guns that they can access within their own classrooms?

4. Adding guns only adds to the chances that more children and staff members will get killed. The more guns there are in schools, the more chance that one will be used. This is school, not a war zone.

5. Where will these guns be kept? In a locked drawer? Keys can get stolen, and retrieving it in the event of a shooting could take so long it would be too late for the teacher to do anything. Or perhaps the teachers will be carrying these guns on them? It would be far too easy for any teenager to jump a teacher and take the gun. Many students are much bigger and stronger than their teachers.

6. Even trained law enforcement runs the risk of shooting innocent people, especially in the chaos of an active shooter scene. Imagine if minimally-trained teachers try to shoot a gun in school while hundreds of students and staff members are running for their lives. What are the chances that innocent people won't get killed?

7. Law enforcers would arrive on the scene and see a teacher with a gun and could mistake them for the killer—as, indeed, happened just last month in Robbins, Illinois, where a security guard detaining a gunman was shot and killed by police. Arming teachers means they would be at twice the risk of being shot—both by the attacker and by law enforcement.

8. Schools now have the mentality of always being on the lookout for an active shooter, which is already leading to false alarms: just take the recent scare in North Carolina, where the rattle of a malfunctioning heating system was mistaken for gun fire, prompting a lockdown and an all-out emergency response. Imagine a lone, recently trained teacher hearing an innocent loud noise like the slamming of the door or a book dropping on the floor, drawing his or her gun and starting to prowl for suspects in the crowded corridors.

I would do anything to bring my daughter back. The image of her running down the hallway from a weapon of war haunts me every day! Now I just want to try to save other lives. Arming teachers is not the answer. If this is what the future looks like, we will have so few teachers left, and not many college students with a major in education.

We do need more armed staff at schools—but we need highly trained security professionals who are there with the sole purpose of keeping everyone safe. Police officers and security guards are who we need. Teachers are supposed to teach. How has this been forgotten? What has this country come to?

Jennifer Guttenberg is the mother of Jaime Guttenberg and the founder of Orange Ribbons For Jaime.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own.