To the Editor:
As a teacher of nearly 30 years, I have a deep interest in the issue of school safety, and I completely reject the idea that putting more guns into our schools offers any kind of reasonable solution. My mind boggles that people who consider themselves leaders are saying that teachers should be trained (by the very school systems scrambling to pay them a living wage and organize meaningful professional development) to carry guns.
This “solution” is ludicrous: teachers are not police officers. When we say we have to “police the lunch room,” we’re using a metaphor (or vivid verb choice. You pick). We got into this job for a variety of reasons, but “because I wanted to be a police officer” is not one I’ve heard. It’s not that we don’t want to protect our students. Every day in every classroom, we protect our students: we help them fight despair, confusion, abuse, addiction, hunger, depression and, of course, ignorance. We lie awake at night worrying about other people’s children.
That’s why I am so deeply insulted that anyone could possibly offer more guns in school as the solution to the problem of our beloved children becoming victims. Adults in the country must look squarely at the central issue, easy access to powerful guns, and address it effectively. The answer is not to add more guns to the equation. It is to control our own habits and make the sacrifice to protect our children.
We know and must admit, as a nation, that our lax regulations and many loopholes endanger our children. We have seen the horrifying evidence too often. We must make painful changes, agree to fill out the paperwork, embrace the arduous work of compromise and control. Denying that reality by bringing up unrealistic “solutions” is an insult to both the committed teachers of this country and the lives already lost in our schools.