Approved by NCTE Members Voting at the Annual Business Meeting for the
Board of Directors and Other Members of the Council, November 2018
Whereas “[P]rofessional police officers hit their intended targets less than 20 percent of the time in training situations of an active shooter. Armed teachers will certainly have even lower accuracy rates” (Brookings Institute);
Whereas minorities are often disproportionately harassed by school officials because of their implicit bias, we should expect minority students will almost certainly be disproportionately harmed in the efforts to secure schools (Nance, Jason P. 2016);
Whereas studies also show that “regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and firearm suicide in the home” (Dahlberg, Ikeda, & Kresnow, 2005, p. 929) and extrapolating from this finding, the mere presence of guns in school increases the likelihood of gun-related injuries and deaths in the school; and
Whereas “[A]ssuming schools will need to foot the bill of regular training for their armed teachers (and perhaps even guns as well), the costs can escalate quickly when arming 10-20 percent of the 3.2 million public school teachers in America, running an estimated tab of at least $250 million” (Brookings Institute); be it therefore
Resolved that the National Council of Teachers of English
- advocate for funding of school-wide training in antiracist practices that prepare personnel to confront unexamined biases that may lead to a disproportionate number of suspensions and disciplinary actions;
- endorse the teaching of conflict resolution through curricula, literature, effective communication, affirmation, negotiation, and appreciation for diverse cultures;
- prioritize texts that discuss the implications and effects of violence and encourage empathic thinking;
- encourage teachers, staff, and administrators to employ restorative justice, peer mediation, and other school-wide initiatives to promote peace and prepare students to advocate for themselves publicly about their safety;
- urge teachers to model emotional intelligence and behavior within classrooms and larger communities;
- recognize that recruitment and retention efforts may be hampered by violence in schools; and
- resist policies that permit the arming of teachers and students in all educational environments.
Dahlberg, L. L., Ikeda, R. M., & Kresnow, M. J. (2005). Guns in the home and risk of a violent death in the home: Findings from a national study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 160(10), 929-936.
Hansen, M. (2018). There are ways to make schools safer and teachers stronger—but they don’t involve guns. Brookings Institute, February 2018. Retrieved from https://brook.gs/2PtRdJt.
Ladson-Billings, G. (2014). Culturally relevant pedagogy 2.0: aka The Remix. Harvard Educational Review, 84(1), 74–84.
Nance, J. P. (2017). Student surveillance, racial inequalities, and implicit racial bias. Emory Law Journal, 66(4), 765–837. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2qOLHCf.
Smith, D. L., & Smith, B. J. (2006). Perceptions of violence: The views of teachers who left urban schools. The High School Journal, 89(3), 34-42.
On February 22, 2019, the NCTE Executive Committee formally approved this resolution, which was first introduced and voted on by the Board of Directors at the 2018 Annual Convention. The resolution was introduced to the entire membership for a vote in January before final review by the Executive Committee.
This position statement may be printed, copied, and disseminated without permission from NCTE.