ome of the finest human beings I have ever known have been teachers, men and women who have inspired me over the years, who brought the light of education to me so that I truly enjoyed coming to school on so many days.
On the other hand, I’m not going to deify teachers, to imbue them with the same mystical qualities which some ascribe to the men who founded this most complicated, most fascinating nation in history.
The horrible shootings in Connecticut last week are providing a sort of knotty problem for a lot of folks who ordinarily view the profession of teaching with some contempt; now they want to arm teachers.
True, it is with the goal of protecting children, should another maniac attack a school, but still . . .
Aristophanes wrote of Cloud Cuckoo Land, which is where many trendy political ideas are birthed, given life by the political or social needs of the moment.
If we can arm more people, we don’t ever have to talk about gun control, or banning assault weapons!
If we can simply arm teachers - which would actually be going against recommendations that loaded weapons not be in the same room as children - why, we can just turn the page on this tragedy, as horrific as it is, and wait for the next one.
How many school districts in this country might consider your refusal to carry a weapon as grounds for not renewing your teaching contract for the next year?
One waits with baited breath for the day when the solution for workplace shootings will be for supervisors or lead personnel to be armed will be the suggestion.
Getting back to teachers.
When I look back upon the major influences of my life, most of them have been teachers, But I ain’t stupid.
Teachers are not a giant bloc of goodness, like nuns, or grandparents. They are all human beings, and are capable of screwing up just as much as any other human being. And when they do, the results are spectacular. In Northwest Arkansas, one school official killed his dog and then attempted to murder his girlfriend.
And yeah, I keep thinking about the teacher who has sexual designs upon a student, and is now armed. Or the young woman who wants to break up with an angry teacher - who now has a gun.
Most of the stories I report on here did not take place on school property - though one did, with tragic results - but they all involved teachers, who are are human, as complicated and as magnificently flawed as the rest of us.
I have written about violence in the workplace on more than one occasion, and the bullying of teachers in many schools is more common you may wish to think. Since about a third of us have been bullied in the workplace, that includes our friends who are teachers - who may be bullied by fellow teachers or by those higher in the food chain.
And we should put guns in their workplace.
One Tennessee teacher used her Facebook page to jokingly vent about her students - “shoot ‘em up” - and has been removed from her job.
A Bay Area elementary school principal was arrested on accusations of being a meth dealer.
People are so judgmental.
A former Florida principal was arrested for mentally stabbing two people at a group home for the mentally impaired in what was described as a “violent crime spree.” Several others were stabbed.
An elementary school teacher was arrested for killing his wife in a Pennsylvania church
In March of this year, a Jacksonville, Florida, teacher who had been fired and escorted from the grounds of a private school returned later that afternoon with an AK-47 assault-style rifle and shot the headmistress before killing himself.
Before he returned, some students joked that he might come back and “do something.”
And I haven’t even written about the teacher who fired blanks at his class, presumably to make a point . . .
I’m sorry, but the cartoonish idea that if we just arm more people the problem is solved is shallow at best, and shows a deep ignorance of what is happening in the world at worst.
I’m not against security in schools, though I wish things had never come to that point.
But arming teachers?
What comes next?
Arming hall and school bus monitors? Library assistants? Cooks in the lunch room?
When students attack teachers: And when the enemies are both foreign and domestic? What do you do then?
The talking heads and hysterical pontificating political figures are, of course, talking about incidents such as Columbine or Newtown. But . . .
The news is full of stories of teachers being attacked by students.
I was never a soldier, but I had the distinct pleasure of holding a gun in my hand once, considering whether or not to pull the trigger and end another person’s life. I know that I have written about this before, but I don’t think we should hide the screw-ups of our life away from public view, especially when they might pertain to the subject at hand.
It would have been so easy to pull the trigger and end his life. And he wasn’t even physically attacking me. I was a coward, holding the gun as I did.
But consider this.
A teacher is afraid for his or her life, and finds themselves confronted by a person (or persons) bent on attacking them - or just wanting their gun, perhaps.
What might they do?
Might they pull out their gun and fire? Bullets which can wound, maim and kill ripping through a teenager’s body, a teenager who may have been guilty of nothing more than aggravated stupidity?
“Well,” the proponents of arming teachers might say, “they knew the risks. They have no one to blame but themselves.”
Freedom and Liberty, baby.
Quote of the Day
The chances of finding out what’s really going on in the universe are so remote, the only thing to do is hang the sense of it and keep yourself occupied. - Douglas Adams
Very good article, Richard, although you don’t mention the obvious conclusion - that the city…
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