Putting armed guards in schools sends the wrong message

December 28, 2012

I appreciate the articles the sun has published on both sides of the gun control debate. As a person who has spent all of her adult professional life in elementary education, I hear the National Rifle Association's proposal to put armed guards in schools as a solution that doesn't address the many other shootings that occur elsewhere.

Those in education know what is meant by the "hidden curriculum." It is a side effect of education that is not formally taught but that students pick up from the norms, values and beliefs conveyed by the social environment of the classroom and the school.

What norms, values and beliefs would students pick up if every school had armed guards? I am certain we would be working toward building a military society, one in which no one can be trusted and everyone is a potential enemy.

Such a mentality may be good for the gun manufacturers, but I would not want to be responsible for producing a generation of young people who were unintentionally taught to live by the sword — or, in this case, the gun.

The NRA's proposed solution is not well thought through. It lacks wisdom and responsibility. It is protecting its turf when what is needed are ways to protect human lives.

That requires a comprehensive plan that addresses background checks before all gun sales, regulating the trafficking in guns and the kinds of guns that can be sold, and last but not least, expanding access to mental health care.

I would hate to believe that as Americans we can't find a better plan to reduce gun violence than by putting armed guards in every school.

Diane Bardol, Baltimore

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