Tragically, we are once again engulfed in the School Safety debate. And rightfully so.
The President tweeted yesterday, Thursday the 21st, “concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training experience. A “gun free” school is a magnet for bad people.” And for some people, “a good guy with a gun, stops a bad guy with a gun.” But that didn’t work in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Florida when a seasoned armed guard in uniform “didn’t go in”.
While I understand the President’s logic, I’m woefully against it, and don’t believe a gun free school is a magnet for bad people.
My husband and I have had quite a few conversations regarding the topic providing teacher with guns in school, as I’m sure you, your friends and colleagues do as well. And our conversations always end with this... if Sandy Hook didn’t change laws and regulations, and the hearts and minds of congress and the senate, then nothing will.
Is it another mass shooting that shouldn't have happened? Can the youth command change with their articulate voice, reasoning and rise of a movement? Can teachers command change with #ArmMeWith?
When I started teaching in 1995 in an urban area in San Diego, I was told one of the ten most men wanted in America was captured living across the street just a few months before I started, and a dead man was found in the alley behind the school a few months before I began teaching. However, never once did I feel I needed a gun to feel safe. My parents certainly didn’t want me to work at place this dangerous, but it’s no longer possible to define where is safe.
I cannot fathom the idea of guns in the classroom. I just don’t trust all teachers with carrying a concealed gun and having the mindset and ability to use it effectively. Who decides they are emotionally and mentally sound to carry a gun? Teachers have sometimes had threats by students, perceived, and real. How will they react with a gun? Even if they were armed and trained, people react very differently in drills than in real life and events. Teachers don’t go into teaching to provide safety with guns - they go into teaching to provide knowledge, to inspire and help young people grow to their best potential.
The training? How much, how often, and who trains these teachers? Is it ongoing training? Where are the guns kept? School trips? And many more unanswered questions before any decisions can be made with regard to teachers carrying guns at school. Having been through live shooter drills at my last school, there are many many more questions to answer on this issue.
I grew up in a home with guns, and they are unnerving to some people. Guns were respected and kept locked up and safe and used for small legal game hunting, however, I do not have guns in my home, and I do not want to carry a concealed gun into a room full of children.
I’m angry when Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association, said “....they (Democrats) hate the 2nd Amendment, they hate individual freedom….” This statement exasperates me. The rhetoric is aggressive, arrogant and plain wrong. When I listened to his words. I hear him saying he is more worried about his right to carry guns than the rights of children and adolescents to live.
In today’s world of school mass shooting would I want to be a classroom teacher? Could I go into teaching with the same excitement, vigor and passion for educating young people? I’m not sure I know that answer to that.
I do wonder if the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Florida can be a catalyst for real change? Or will it be more thoughts, prayers, and divisive rhetoric?