Exploring The Issues

The “Exploring the Issues” section of this website considers the topic of armed teachers within its larger cultural, historical, and economic contexts. While much public debate centers around the question of whether or not guns belong in schools, it is crucial to explore the forces that have gotten us to this juncture as a society, as well as the larger contexts in which this debate is taking place.

If one had to name some of the most important and highly contentious topics in contemporary American society, the gun debate, the shaping of K-12 education, and the level of policing and security would all be high on list. We were drawn to making a film about the arming of American teachers not only because it is a shocking trend that has been spreading largely under the radar of public awareness, but also because at its core it embodies so many of these contemporary public debates. Understanding more about the intersection of these topics – and how they are informed by history, politics, economics, and philosophy – is essential to any conversation about guns in schools, and it is with that in mind that this website has been built.

The materials presented here are intended for teenage and adult audiences and can be used alone or in group settings. Rather than a traditional, school-based curriculum, we have provided resources and discussion questions that can be used in classrooms, at community screenings, or for self-study. We recommend choosing a section on which to focus and responding to the questions through a combination of individual written reflection and group dialogue, ideally with a discussion facilitator. However, the material is organized to facilitate individual exploration as well.

The starting point for much of this material is footage we gathered in the making of G is for Gun that was not included in the film itself. The film tells the story of the small city of Sidney, OH, a school district that has been arming teachers since 2013, and follows an Ohio-based gun training for school employees around the state. Therefore, each section of the website begins with and contains clips from people in Sidney or connected to the training. In addition, there are clips from scholars, activists, and community members interviewed for the film. The materials included from outside sources relate directly to the ideas raised in the extra clips presented.

G is for Gun will be available on PBS stations around the country in the coming year, as well as via streaming, and for purchase (details to be announced soon).