For nearly 20 years I have been an elementary school teacher.
I would carry a concealed gun in school.
No one really knows how they’ll react to a shooting. A school resource officer failed to enter the Florida school, and is now without a job. An official with the NEA was on NPR’s Morning Edition telling a story of a fully trained police officer who dropped a gun and reentered a dangerous situation pointing a finger like a make-believe gun.
In case of a school shooting, I’d want a gun. I’d want the skill to use it, and I’d pray for the courage to act in the best way possible. I fear several things.
I fear shooting an innocent student accidentally. I fear being shot by first responders. I fear being perceived as a threat by students who misinterpret the presence of a handgun strapped to my ankle. I fear looking into the eyes of a child pointing a gun at other children. I fear being too late. I fear being a coward.
I fear most of all children dying and me being unable to take meaningful action.
I want to address some of the nonsense surrounding this issue. Becky Pringle, vice president of the National Education Association said this morning on Morning Edition that students do not want their teachers to be armed. Let me suggest that we never allow adolescents to choose the strategy by which they are protected. Children want to be safe. Or in this case, safer.
She also said her membership overwhelmingly rejects the idea of carrying a gun. No one suggests arming every teacher.
As far as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students, I am sorry that the adults let them down. Discipline policies, gun policies as they relate to troubled teens and even the failure of video surveillance policies. Adults let them down.
Adults have put these teenagers in an obscene public drama. The CNN town hall, with shouting and abuse toward invited guests, the marches demanding action…all of these staged events set these particular grieving students toward increased emotional difficulties. Adults have weaponized these students to pursue anti-gun policies. Please don’t say the teens did all this on their own. Adults are behind the cameras and in charge of the news media.
When these children do not get exactly what they want – and we all know that is the direction we are heading – I predict they will not recover well. Instead of finding a way to grieve and recover, they are planning their next event, spurred on by willing media.
And once again, the adults are failing them.