I think I have shown great restraint in not approaching the arming of schools, teachers, counselors, etc. After all, it has been some time since the mass killings at Sandy Hook. But the more I hear about this asinine approach – guess where my beliefs lie – the more I question the sanity of the American people.
I spent five long years becoming a teacher. A damn good teacher. I was a high school dropout – the day I turned 16 – because I was bored, frustrated and, for the most part invisible to my teachers and staff. (Perhaps that was because I ditched more days than I was in attendance, but I didn’t ditch to have fun; rather I ditched because I had a job that paid me good money and I didn’t see what school was going to teach me that I wasn’t already using in my job. (I was a pharmacy tech – although not called that back in the early 50’s – but worked close to 40 hours a week and had a car that I had to support.)
Because of my horrible experiences with school, I decided that I would become a teacher and motivate students to learn using highly innovative means to do so. It must have worked, because even today I hear from some of my students that were in my first classes (and that was back in the 60’s) and they tell me that they owe me a lot for understanding their needs and setting up personal objectives for them.
And it also must have worked because after teaching for only 5 years I was asked to teach at SDSU and help train new teachers on Individualizing the Curriculum for their students. And after teaching at SDSU, UCSD and USIU I was approached by the Superintendent of the Poway Unified School District to “retrain” all probationary teachers so that they could meet the needs of their students. The job of “Inservice Director” was created for me by Fred Craig, the school superintendent.
Suffice it to say that by this time I had obtained a Master’s Degree and was only 6 units short of a Ph.D. My not completing the doctoral program is not germain to this article, but it had to do with my husband also receiving his Ph.D and lessening the competition between us since we were in the same field.
The goal of all teachers should be to assess their students and then, taking them from where they are, leading them to achieve higher stratum along the educational curriculum.
There are some very good teachers; likewise, there are some very poor ones. I am not talking about the teacher that turns out to be a child molester; I am talking of the person in the classroom that knows less that the student he/she is teaching. You need an example? One of my teachers in a school district here in San Diego County taught his 7th grade students that a “textile mill manufactured steel and metal products.” Dumb! He never should have been granted a credential at all.
Likewise, as a Principal in a school district in Arizona – Pre-K to 8th grade – and during the time when corporal punishment was acceptable, teachers would send unruly students to me to be “paddled.” When I asked what they had done that was so dastardly that they needed paddling, it turned out that they hadn’t done anything so bad, but the teacher was mad at them. When I refused to paddle the student, I was called all sorts of names by the sending teacher. I told them I wasn’t mad at the child; there were other forms of discipline.
One of the more horrifying stories that comes to mind took place in a 1st grade classroom. There were two classrooms, with an adjoining office between the rooms. The two teachers – one a male and one a female – decided to “paddle” their own students when they were naughty. (What else can you call 6 year olds but “naughty”?) What did they do? They put a piece of masking tape on the floor; had the student stand on the tape, and then swing that paddle as hard as they could to see how far they could move him off that line. Then they would put a piece of masking tape on the floor – similar to charting growth of a child – until the next one was swatted. In actuality, it was a “contest” between the two teachers to see who could wield a stronger paddle. Telling you what happened is not important to the story, except to start to build a case against arming teachers in the classroom.
If I were a parent whose school was thinking of enacting gun control in the classroom I would immediately ask for a transfer for my child. Has anyone given any thought to safety? Where would that gun be kept? In the teacher’s desk? In a cupboard high up on the top shelf? Would it be locked up? How long do you think it would take from the moment that the crisis evolved to unlock a desk; unlock a cupboard; get the kids under their desk, etc. before that gun could actually be used?
And what if it was a false alarm and the teacher pulled the trigger by “mistake.” How many kids, and for how long, would they be traumatized? There were security guards at Columbine that had guns. Did that help the massacre? Hell no.
Let’s look at it from another perspective. Teachers are like any other adult. (Well, usually.) They get mad too. What if, just what if, they got so mad at another teacher, or a parent, or an administrator, or, God forbid, a student and just took that little pistol out of the locked cabinet and popped the offender. Wouldn’t happen? Bull crap.
Or, let’s say, that the teacher forgot to lock her/his desk and went out for lunch. And Sally was depressed and angry at her boyfriend that she saw kissing her best friend. What if Sally went into the teacher’s room, grabbed the gun from the “safe place” and shot both her boyfriend and her girl friend. Won’t happen? Another bull crap.
And where is the liability? The student? The teacher? The Board of Education? The Administrator? Guns do not belong at school, no matter who has it in their possession. Can you visualize a shooter coming into a classroom and shooting off the gun. Teacher grabs his keys; unlocks the desk; puts bullets in the chamber, and then AIMS at the shooter. How many of his students will he hit before he actually hits the shooter? Come on, people, this is a teacher. Not a sharp shooter.
If you think that the school will be safe because it is known that the teachers and staff are armed, think again. The shooter will not be deterred because everyone is armed. No – the shooter will take it as a personal challenge to show how much better he is than the staff.
The fear factor is alive and abundant in the world today. The NRA is doing their very best to scare the hell out of everyone. Fontana School District ordered assault rifles for its school. Fontana school police Chief Billy Green said ”he used money from fingerprinting fees to purchase the guns for $14,000 after identifying a ‘critical vulnerability’ in his force’s ability to protect students. The officers, who already wear sidearms, wouldn’t be able to stop a shooter like the one in Connecticut, he said Wednesday.
The Superintendent of Schools for Fontana USD said, ” “I came from a teaching background, and it’s appalling to think that we’d have to have security officers — let alone armed police officers — on our campuses,” Olsen-Binks said. “But the bottom line is … everybody has anxiety over school safety right now.” And that is true – but in my opinion, the arming of staff is a complete waste of money; money that should go into education, not just on guns, but on total curriculum. If we want a police state, perhaps we should do more research in those countries that already live in a police state and see if that is really what we want.