A majority of teachers believe that being given firearms for school protection would instead make schools less safe.
According to a survey of 974 educators from the RAND Corporation, 54 percent of teachers said that students would be less safe if educators were carried firearms. Only 20 percent said that arming teachers would make students safer, and 26 percent said it would not have an impact either way.
Opinions shifted by race and gender, as the report notes that "White teachers were more likely than Black teachers to feel that teachers carrying firearms would make schools safer, and male teachers in rural schools were most likely to say that they would personally carry a firearm at school if allowed."
There were 36 school shootings in the 2022-2023 school year, according to Washington Post data. Republicans have routinely called for teachers to be armed as a protective measure, despite no available data proving that educators carrying guns is effective in preventing violence. In fact, most data shows that students become safer when they do not have accessible firearms.
The RAND survey found that around half of teachers supported other security measures, such as locks, ID badges, cameras, and security staff. Only 5 percent believed that such measures had a negative impact on schools.
Heather Schwartz, an author on the report and senior policy researcher at RAND, told The Hill that despite the prevalence of gun violence, the biggest concern teachers had surrounding student wellbeing was bullying.
“Even with the unfortunate regularity of gun violence in U.S. schools, which often drives the policy debate around school safety, only five percent of teachers overall selected gun violence as their largest safety concern,” she said, adding, “Despite the prevalence of anti-bullying programs, everyday school violence is a concern for teachers. Bullying, not active shooters, was teachers’ most common top safety concern, followed by fights and drugs."