As someone who works in the field of education, the recent outrage at the unnecessary loss of life in Parkland, Florida on Feb 14, 2018 has been something I have paid close attention to, and it seems I am not the only one. 17 people lost their lives in one of the worst school shootings since Columbine. It seems that what happened in Parkland has become the straw that broke the camel’s back for many U.S. citizens on both sides of the party divide.
Some people believe that, in order to stop gun violence, we should give people more guns. Others believe we should restrict access to guns in order to keep them out of the hands of those who cannot use them responsibly. One solution that has been presented to the general public is that we arm teachers. As someone who teaches high school students every day, I was initially against this idea, but I have recently come to see that I was wrong.
I believe we should arm all teachers. We should be putting a gun in the hand of every elementary, middle and high school teacher. We shouldn’t stop there. Every cafeteria worker, media assistant and custodian should be given a gun in order to provide an environment for students that is conducive to learning, growth, safety and comfort.
Currently in this country, schools have a general lack of resources and funding. There are shortages in paper, books that are falling apart and the budget continues to shrink. As a teacher, I believe it is necessary to give teachers guns, so we can sell them to pay for the things we actually need, because our state and federal governments are not giving the funding necessary to keep schools afloat.
Many Americans are concerned about the viability of this plan, including the hundreds of thousands of students in public schools who attended any of the 835 March For Our Lives events worldwide on March 24. There has been national outrage over the mass shootings plaguing the country, and over the even deeper issue of a broken system in desperate need of being fixed.
Bringing more weapons into that environment will not solve anything, but if teachers are going to be armed, at least we can finally create the budget we’ve needed. It would cost upwards of one billion dollars to arm every public school teacher in the U.S., according to The Washington Post. Perhaps if we could sell those guns, we could finally afford the education which these students deserve.
I signed up to be an educator because I wanted to change the lives of students. I wanted to teach them about language and communication. I wanted to teach them how to be compassionate and understanding. I wanted to give them the tools they need to become whoever and whatever they want to be. While I love every single one of my students, and I probably would take a bullet for them if it came down to it, that does not mean I signed up to take a bullet for anyone’s child.
Fighting bad guys is not in my job description. Giving young adults the tools they need to feel fulfilled and successful while maintaining an environment of understanding and support is part of my job description. I don’t need a gun, I need the resources necessary to help these students succeed.
The classroom is supposed to be a sanctuary for those who feel lost, unwanted and unloved. How are we supposed to maintain that sanctuary if we are busy waving guns in the faces of our children who have seen the real power a gun holds to end lives?
As someone who loves and supports children, I entreat you to think about the things you are supporting. Think about the children who will have to face the consequences of what decisions we make. Think about the fact that some people are more offended by students walking out of schools in protest rather than being offended by the students who will never walk out of a school again because of gun violence. Before you claim we should arm teachers, try talking to a teacher.