Teachers Do NOT Carry Guns

I have been a teacher all of my life. My partner and three sisters are teachers. Many, many of my friends are teachers.

Teachers do NOT Carry Guns. It is the antithesis of what we are called to do with our lives.

We find joy in connecting with our students to help them learn things. We find challenge in articulating subjects so that students of many different learning styles can find the AHA moment that leads to new understanding. We work hard to prepare them for an ever-changing complex world. I cannot begin to list all of the disciplines we must master to be able to teach students of any age.

Our dear seven-year-old granddaughter attends a bi-lingual school in Los Angeles. Walking her to the playground where all children line up with their teachers before entering school, I see the world arriving—fathers with dreadlocks, mothers with hijabs, fathers in suits, grandparents in jogging suits. A “United Nations” of children walk in squiggly lines behind their teachers, eager to enter their classrooms—confident of the kindness and attention of their teachers, anticipating the familiar pattern of the day.

I watch Sasha’s first grade teacher lean over every child, helping with backpacks, giving hugs, looking each child in the face, loving and appreciating them into the morning. I cannot imagine, nor will I tolerate the idea that this teacher should be packing a loaded pistol.

The inalienable right of students of all ages is a safe and nurturing learning environment. Guns have no place in this scene. None.

 In response to the brave, articulate call from high school students who survived the recent horrific shooting in Parkland, Florida, the President of the United States has recommended arming teachers. This is a response from someone who has no understanding of what millions of teachers do every single day on behalf of children and youth—especially public school teachers.

At best it is a stupidly dangerous idea. At worst it is an idea that could lead to the disintegration of our society into a police state.

The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are following in the steps of their radical founder who said: “Do your part to inform and stimulate the public to join your action. Be depressed, discouraged, and disappointed at failure and the disheartening effects of ignorance, greed, corruption and bad politics—but never give up.”

As adults, we owe it to students everywhere to support the Parkland high teens. How do we support them? We continue to apply pressure on our elected leaders to find a solution to the horrific problem of gun violence in our schools. And we use great discernment about what is a good idea and what is a bad idea.