In response to the Uvalde school shooting last May, the Texas GOP decided instead of working together and finding common ground to reduce gun violence, they would take the bold step to put an armed guard in every school campus in the state. So far, the results have been dismal, to be generous. The economics and lack of any pragmatism in their plan is rearing its ugly head.
The mandate that was passed was largely unfunded. The Texas GOP allotted a mere 15,000 dollars per campus to fufill their dream. The problem with that grant is that 15,000 dollars wouldn’t get them an extra custodian or cafeteria worker, let alone a trained and licensed armed guard. In Texas, such an armed guard would run about 80,000 a year.
And with this massive increase in demand, that number could go up. If one wants to talk about a government causing inflation, here is a prime example where the laws of supply and demand will almost undoubtedly take hold.
“You know, every school district is going after them, right? So we’re having to adjust our compensation plan,” one official said. “We’ll probably be taking that to the board to adjust those so that we can go recruit those good officers.”
Schools have been struggling in many areas of the country to fund things like teachers, sports and other extra-curricular activities. Now they are expected to cough up an extra 65,000 dollars per school to fulfill that mandate.
Imagine a rural school with one elementary, one junior high, and one high school. Right there is almost 200,000 in extra revenue needed and that amount is more than likely a major hardship in some districts.
Schools do have one other option — namely to train and empower a faculty member as an armed “guardian” for the school. But that too, has had some poor results. Most teachers want nothing to do with being an armed “guardian” on top of all their teaching and other school responsibilities. So, as a result, many schools lack any qualified volunteers.
When the mandate was being put together by the Texas GOP last year, NEA President Becky Pringle spoke for many teachers and parents who were squarely against the notion.
“Our public schools should be the safest places for students and educators, yet the gunshots from a lone shooter armed with a military-grade weapon shattered the physical safety of the school community in Uvalde, Texas,” she declared. “The powerful gun lobby and their allies did not waste a second after the horrific killing of 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School to call for arming teachers.”
“Bringing more guns into schools makes schools more dangerous and does nothing to shield our students and educators from gun violence,” Pringle said. “We need fewer guns in schools, not more.”
Pringle wasn’t done there, adding …
We need common-sense solutions now. Schools need more mental health professionals, not pistols; teachers need more resources, not revolvers. Arming teachers makes schools more dangerous and does nothing to protect students and their families when they go off to school, shop at the grocery store, attend church services, ride the subway, or simply walk down the streets of their neighborhoods. Those lawmakers pushing to arm teachers and fortify school buildings are simply trying to distract us from their failure to prevent another mass shooting.
“Educators and parents overwhelmingly reject the idea of arming school staff. Rather than arming educators with guns, we need to be giving them the tools needed to inspire their students. Rather than putting the responsibility on individual teachers, our elected leaders need to pass laws that protect children from gun violence and bring an end to senseless and preventable killings.”
Her words were not taken seriously by the Texas GOP — and now, a year later, here we are with an unfunded mandate that cannot work without massive amounts of additional funds. There are over 9,000 campuses in Texas. At 80,000 dollars a pop, Texas is looking at about 750,000,000 annually to avoid any common sense gun legislation.
That could add up to about 10 billion over the next decade when one considers even just a low rate of inflation over the next 10 years. Imagine if the Texas GOP put 10 billion or even a fraction of that into things like books, nutrition, teacher salaries, and necessary school supplies.
Perhaps instead of trying to turn every school into an armed fortress, the Texas GOP might wanna reconsider taking a harder look at finding some common ground with the folks seeking some common sense legislation to reduce gun violence. After all, Uvalde employed armed protection and it didn’t stop the slaughter there. And when dozens more officers showed up, they were all too scared to confront the murdering gunman as children bled out and died in the classrooms they were supposed to be learning in.