Tennessee Allowing Armed Teachers Will Inevitably Fail

On April 26, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed SB 1325, allowing teachers to be armed at school. While this bill is intended to prevent school shooting tragedies, due to its poor foresight and lack of proper research, it will inevitably fail.
On April 26, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed SB 1325, allowing teachers to be armed at school. While this bill is intended to prevent school shooting tragedies, due to its poor foresight and lack of proper research, it will inevitably fail.
Alessandra Ashford

Scarring the nation time and time again, the consecutive school shootings of recent years have not only unjustly robbed numerous innocent children and staff from their communities, but has also brought upon a heightened sense of fear and frustration. Kickstarting a series of panic-induced legislation that aims to provide ample defense methods against threats, the sheer number of shootings has overwhelmed numerous civilians, administrators, and officials alike. 

Becoming the 34th state to adopt one of these such legislations, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed Senate Bill 1325 (SB 1325) into law on April 26, allowing teachers to be armed in school. Allowing for the provision of guns to educators and school staff, the law pushes for increased fortification and strives to introduce a deterrent factor to drive away potential threats. However, the law operates on a strictly theoretical basis due to the utter lack of research conducted and situational analysis formed to ensure effective outcomes. 

The large deficit between the actions taken and the corroborating research signals an incomplete picture of the pros and cons regarding the bill and its practical implications. Due to this lack of essential information, the nature of the law is a strictly conceptual one forced into reality by uninformed lawmakers, who hold the risk of being influenced by the ripe political opportunism present in this ordeal. Taking into consideration the heightened and sensitive emotions around school shootings, rightly-placed legislation could appeal to many key voters. 

This rash and unsubstantiated bill not only fails to address its effectiveness in carrying out its purpose, but also overlooks many key logistical points of the enactment process of allowing guns in school.  A provision like this requires many steps to be instituted, including establishing the right insurance, lawyer consultancy, and school officials’ expert opinion. Demonstrating the complete absence of pragmatic thinking, the lack of proper preparation prior to the law’s announcement not only showcases the panicked and reckless nature of lawmakers, but also foreshadows the ineffectiveness and fragility of the bill. 

Namely, the bill proved fruitless in action when many Tennessean school districts commented that the already established presence of school resource officers (SROs), paired with the controversy surrounding the bill in the community will prevent them from immediately and seamlessly enacting the policy.

Another controversial and ongoing issue surrounding the education system, a lack of government funding and underpaid teachers is just one more reason to oppose SB 1325. The idea that the government can afford to allocate massive amounts of money to provide arms and weapons to educators with virtually no research conducted, but can’t afford to fund schools to increase resources and teacher pay is unreasonable and a poor reflection of the skewed priorities of lawmakers. 

While school shootings — albeit tragic when they occur — are a chance event, with the potential to occur to one in a few hundred schools across the nation, education and schooling is a recurring, daily theme that affects many on a much larger, consistent scale. The lack of educational resources, academic supplements, teacher salaries, and overall school allocational funding is a problem that haunts a much more vast majority of the country compared to school shootings, and before attempting to address other problems with ineffective solutions, the government should first solve these more prominent, deeply-rooted issues.

Even if the law were to be taken seriously despite the obvious absence of situational analysis conducted and potential outcomes evaluated, the nuances of the legislation contain many holes in ensuring proper action. The law doesn’t include any safe storage requirements, potentially allowing for staff to simply lock the weapon up in something as accessible as a desk if they choose to. Any place with firearms should be required to have some sort of security measures, let alone a school filled to the brim with numerous children. Especially considering that around half of all school shootings were committed by former or current students, it’s immensely risky to have guns in a school setting, let alone without safe storage. 

In addition to possibly perpetuating the recent mental and emotional instability among students, SB 1325 fails to aptly prepare the very educators it’s bestowing the responsibility of protection to. Mandating a criminal and mental background check in addition to only 40 hours of basic training, the legislation expects teachers to learn the fundamentals and nuances of shooting in less time than the average camp stay for a kid. Only reiterating the massive scope for failure, the lack of preparatory practices hints to the future ineffectiveness and risk loaded with the continuation of the law. 

While the law fails to clarify numerous aspects of the arming process, it’s abundantly strict on ensuring that only select individuals are aware of the staff members who have been entrusted with a gun. Only school administration is allowed the complete list of the staff members with guns, a list they must then hand over to local law enforcement. Outside of this circle, no one has access to this information — not parents, not students, not even other staff members. 

While it could be assumed that this decision had been a careful and calculated one, no research revealed allows for this assumption to be effectively corroborated. Instead, the mandate threatens an insecure school environment by perpetuating mind games and instilling fear of the unknown in all parties involved. 

Addressing the many facets of faulty legislation, a holistic viewpoint of the law reveals that while created with good intentions, the bill itself is crafted on a loose and uninvestigated foundation. Setting itself up for failure, the bill places the wrong resources in the wrong hands, wasting valuable allocational funds on inevitably ineffective legislation. Instead of relying on panicked, impulsive decisions, the government should holistically assess the situation and take into consideration the opinions of experts before attempting to tackle the issue. By constructing a thoroughly sound solution by utilizing professional and relevant inputs, the scope for mistakes or ineffectiveness will also significantly decrease.

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About the Contributors
Aarya Kale
Aarya Kale, Reporter
Class of 2026 Hey! Besides being a passionate writer and photographer, I also happen to have a liking for all things cheese :) If I don’t happen to be eating some, I’m probably off reading a nice book or hanging out with my friends!
Alessandra Ashford
Alessandra Ashford, Opinions Editor
Class of 2025 When I’m not writing or editing you can find me reading, drawing, painting, listening to music, and ranting. I always love to tell stories and start conversations. I’m so excited to be on Student Press!

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