Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump, Education, Gun Control — January 12, 2019 at 10:02 am

When You Give a Teacher a Gun…


Here are just a few of the most troubling excerpts from a very disturbing recent article on arming teachers, presented without comment:

“When she started her career, Pam’s salary was $23,000. (“If I ever see $55,000, I’ll be 105 years old,” she says, laughing.) The district is covering her hotel and ammunition for training, but she paid for her new $500 Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun and for all her gear—magazines, magazine pouches, a holster, safety equipment, and that concealed-carry permit—out of her own pocket.”

“Last February, the president of the United States went a step further: Schools should arm “highly trained, gun-adept” teachers, said Trump, and pay them bonuses for their troubles. The question is no longer whether we should arm teachers, coaches, principals, and custodians; it’s how many are out there already, and which ones are getting guns next.”

“Gun control is an uninteresting topic for the group, because they are convinced it would be of no practical use. “
‘Drugs are illegal, but look how many people use them anyway,’ one principal reasons. Pam mostly agrees. ‘They’re going to get them if they want them,’ she says, shrugging. But whenever the subject of providing for kids’ mental health comes up, she grimaces a little. Her school still hasn’t hired its own counselor.”

“In all, she fires about 700 rounds over 27 hours of instruction, which includes an evening crash course in trauma medicine. If someone in class is bleeding out, she learns, a sturdy ruler is great for tightening a tourniquet.”

“As we say our goodbyes, I ask Pam one last question: Are you ready?
She nods. “I’m ready,” she tells me. She glances down at her freshly printed certificate of achievement, a letter-size sheet that bears her name and designates her as qualified to bring a gun to school this fall. “I feel safe with a firearm now. I used to be scared to death of it.” She’s settled on a solution to her holster-location conundrum, too: “I’m going to wear it underneath my belt, and in the front.”
When kindergartners run up to give her a hug, Pam explains, they usually surprise her from the back.”

If you think teachers should have guns in school, you’re just wrong. It’s not “up for debate” any more than gravity.

If you’re a teacher who reads all of this and thinks, “Well, that’s not me. I’m different. I’ve had a gun for years. I’m a hunter, and a responsible gun owner. I’m all about gun safety. I was in the military. I just want to protect my students and colleagues”, then you are precisely the kind of person who should never be permitted to have a loaded weapon in a school. You’re exactly the sort of person that shouldn’t be allowed to carry a deadly weapon into a room full of children looking at you as someone who cares about their learning, and their well-being.

If you really and truly believe that the best way for you to protect your students is with a gun, then please quit your job immediately, enroll in a police academy, get properly trained and prepared to use a weapon in live-action situations–not by a 1 day “professional development seminar,” like we pretend to train and prepare teachers to do all sorts of things we don’t really value enough to do the right way (like “blood borne pathogens training,” and “sexual harassment prevention training,” and “court-mandated reporter training.” ProTip for Teachers: if the PD session you’re sitting through has the word “training” in its title, no one in the Central Office really cares if you actually learn how to do the thing you’re being trained on–it was either an unfunded mandate from the state education department and/or legislature, or your superintendent thought it would “look good” if parents and other school budget voters saw teachers were being given that training.)–and get out of the classroom.

Because teachers teach.





Teachers don’t “shoot to kill.”

Teachers don’t shoot their students.

And please do not try to make this about “school safety,” or “protecting our kids.” Because it’s not. This is a deeply cynical and craven response to the epidemic of school shootings by a deeply cynical and craven President and Secretary of Education, aided and abetted by a deeply cynical and craven gun lobby, led by the NRA, one of the most deeply cynical and craven organizations in our nation.

How do we know this?

Because if the President, or Secretary of Education really cared about our children, here are just a few of the things they’d allocate funding for in every school in our country before suggesting that teachers be armed:

  • music and art teachers
  • school counselors
  • nurses and physicians
  • school psychologists and social workers
  • more time for recess and play
  • librarians, books, and other materials
  • school breakfast and lunch programs
  • support for LGBT students–and faculty
  • up-to-date textbooks and classroom equipment
  • clean, safe, and well-maintained school facilities

More drugs won’t solve our “drug problem.”

More guns won’t solve our “school shooting problem.”

And a “good guy with a gun” is no match for a “well-funded, fully certified and qualified, career teacher” in every classroom.