only to then realize this would prevent students from breaking the window and escaping
should the need arise.
New potential technology for schools nationwide include motion, sound, heat, and
metal detectors; body cameras; GPS tracking; remote-controlled door locks and pepper-spray systems; palm scanners; scans of social media content for signs of threats;
anonymous tip lines; walkie-talkies; panic buttons; scream alarms; automatic text alerts;
and of course, bullet-proof shelters, windows, backpacks, and even clipboards.
Experts say the civilian armor market is expected to double by 2024, and new
companies are forming regularly to capitalize on the problem surrounding schools.
Businesses that previously offered visitor management services and gunshot recognition
software to hospitals and stadiums are now pivoting to schools. Along with hiring new
teachers and general staff each year, schools are now looking into hiring military and law
enforcement consultants as well.
More importantly, if these companies are benefitting, who is paying? Most of the
time, the advocacy groups focused on school safety are funded by neighborhood
businesses, families, gifts from the state, or, in one school’s case, money raised via the
superintendent running a marathon to earn sponsorships from businesses. However, there
is state legislation being passed to help allocate more government money to this issue, such
as the Safe to Learn Act of 2018 in Maryland or the 2018-19 expansion budget in North
Carolina. Specifically, the latter piece of legislation creates a School Safety Grant Program
that the Superintendent of Public Instruction will oversee. The program includes $12
million for School Resource Officer Grants, $2 million for students in crisis, $3 million for
training to increase safety, $3 million for purchasing equipment, $10 million for mental
health support personnel, and another $5 million allocated to the Department of Public
Instruction to expand the anonymous tip line.
B. The “Gun Debate”
Some believe that arming teachers is the best way to protect children because they
will be in close proximity to the shooter and can take him out before the shooter hurts
anyone. After the shooting in Parkland, Florida in February 2018 that killed seventeen
people, President Trump stated that teachers with training and experience who “love their
students” could be more effective than an armed police officer. Unsurprisingly, gun-rights
advocates also agree with this stance. This has influenced some teachers in Texas, Utah,
Wyoming, and South Dakota to implement the idea.
There are, however, key questions that still need to be answered: where do teachers
store their guns? Will armed teachers get some sort of bonus? What credentials are needed?
Who is liable should something go wrong? Who is footing the bill? These questions give
rise to scenarios gone wrong; for example, if a student steals a teacher’s gun, if the gun
accidentally discharges, or if the teacher hurts an innocent bystander when trying to protect