Arming School Teachers

I saw a rather lengthy post on Facebook. Maybe you’ve seen it too. A former educator, descended from zir lofty pedestal to give the mouth-breathers a lecture about concealed carry in schools. I was unable to post a satisfying response on Facebook for some reason.

Non-teachers: I’m going to ask you as nicely as I can; please suspend your disbelief for a few moments. Please consider the possibility that you might not know what teachers and schools need better than the teachers who studied, trained, and made this their life’s work, day in and day out. Please listen. If you can’t do that, please move on to something else to read or watch.

(This is very long. I need to write it because if I don’t, I think I’m going to give myself an ulcer. If you’re in a rush, skip to the last two paragraphs.)

Teachers: I’m asking you to please suspend *your* disbelief while reading this. Please consider the possibility that teachers are not a monolithic block of thought clones. Your personal views on any subject do not represent the views of all teachers. The issue of concealed carry is a perfect example.

I was a public school teacher for ten years. I loved it … and I hated it too.

This is the equivalent of saying, “I don’t mean to be rude, but..” See, the former educator *loved* it, but here comes a whole bunch of reasons it was awful. The educator must be so saintly for loving it despite how awful it was (yes, sarcasm).

One of the main reasons I left teaching was the soul-crushing demoralization of being ignored or utterly disregarded by politicians (and society, in general) when we teachers tell you what we need to do our jobs and what we know students need to learn, grow, and develop into productive citizens.

Are we supposed to pretend teachers unions don’t exist and make campaign donations (reliably to one party)? I’m sure it *never* occurred to local politicians to court teachers. Never. What a totally believable claim! Also the National Education Association doesn’t exist at all. Furthermore, there’s no way to debunk this claim… like running an internet search for: legislators meet with teachers (go ahead, give it a try).

I think some people assume that since they were students once, they know what they need to know about teaching and the education system in general. To those people, I offer to administer any oral surgery they have coming up soon; I’ve had 11 teeth removed in my life, so I know what I need to know about that.

The educator seems to feel qualified to lecture from a place of ignorance. Based on zir vast tactical experience:

  • Ze will claim to KNOW it is far too expensive to allow teachers to be armed.
  • Ze will claim to KNOW it is far too time-consuming to instruct all teachers.
  • Ze will claim to KNOW only unflinching killers could defend themselves.
  • Ze will claim to KNOW no one could possibly fight back against a school shooter.
  • Ze will claim to KNOW it would be easy for students to take a teacher’s gun.

Teachers in at least four states put the lie to every bit of trash ze vomited into the internet.

In Texas, 172 school districts allow staff to carry firearms.

In Arkansas. “For nearly four years, the Clarksville School District… has had teachers, janitors, computer technicians and other staff members ready to respond in the case of a shooting…” The program is entirely voluntary and, yes, cost effective compared to hiring an armed guard. The school spent over $68,000 to train 13 staff members. Compare that to the expense of hiring a resource officer for $50,000 each and every year (plus raises).

In South Dakota, after the state passed a law in 2013, at least two school districts have made use of armed school employees, security guards, and volunteers who have 80 hours of training, approval by the school board, and approval by a law enforcement agency.

In Utah, educators have been allowed to be armed in the classroom for more than 15 years now. In those 15 years, they have had 0 fatal gun incidents and 1 accidental discharge (which hit a toilet).

Teachers are largely left out of educational policy discussions, debates, and decisions. That is frustrating, and it is also very, very stupid.

So the educator’s problem is with the school administration? That’s anyone else’s problem, how?

Over the years, I watched budget cuts remove from my schools:

  • Guidance counselors
  • Community services
  • Art teachers
  • Music teachers
  • PE teachers
  • Nurses
  • Miscellaneous teaching resources/supplies/programs
  • Nutritious lunch options (actual food is pricey, y’all!)

Ze complains about continual budget cuts that progressively remove valuable people and programs from schools. Maybe hard data on money spent on U.S. schools is available somewhere… oh, wait there is!

Hey, look at that. It doesn’t seem like a drastic, continuous downturn in funding after all. Weird.

I watched the focus on standardized testing become all-consuming, pushing out time for social-emotional learning and character education. (If it can’t be bubbled in on the exam, who cares, right?!)

Ze hates objective testing. Measuring success might reflect poorly on a feels-based teacher.

I watched my class sizes increase year after year, making it harder to know my students well and create a sense of community.

I watched politicians publicly call teachers: lazy, entitled, pension-hungry, and union thugs among other disparaging comments.

Does anyone else think the former educator felt entitled? Ze was just complaining about not being sufficiently fawned over by politicians, right?

I watched those same politicians ignore invitations to come teach just one day in our shoes. Cowards.

Does anyone believe the former educator would accept an invitation to try roofing or bricklaying for one day? Is ze a coward?

I watched disrespect for my profession grow each year, even as our resources were stripped and we spent thousands of our own dollars to try to bridge the gap.

Let me address this right now. If ze spent zir personal money on classroom supplies, ze was a moron. Ze should have insisted the school provide those supplies. If the school wouldn’t provide those supplies, ze should have planned accordingly.

I watched parents become less engaged, often because they were working two or three jobs just to put food on the table. This means their kids need even more support at school, yet we give them less.

If two parents are both working two or three jobs just to put food on the table, maybe they should hold off on having kids until they can afford them. Also, aside from severe hardship cases, if parents are working two or three jobs just to put food on the table… maybe those parents made some bad life choices.

I watched excellent teachers leave the profession to receive professional pay for professional work. I listened with envy as they told me how much easier their lives had become and how their laptops were provided by their companies.

I decided to give up martyrdom and work in the “real world” too. My friends were telling the truth. I’m now paid and respected far more for doing far less. (Yay?)

The former educator (who loved being a teacher) just complained about:

  • Overemphasis on standardized testing
  • Increasing class size
  • Teachers being disparaged by politicians (as if teachers weren’t so deified by politicians, academia, and media that they actually believe their own hype)
  • Increasingly disengaged parents
  • Paying for zir own schools supplies

The former educator complained about excellent teachers leaving education for the private sector, where their lives are easier and the pay is better. So, naturally ze did the same. Did anyone else see the former educator make the case for the private sector being better to its employees? Did ze realize that? I hope so, because ze referenced martyrdom in associated with public education (which ze loved, remember?)!

I watched a woman who has never attended public school, worked in a public school, sent her children to public school, or even studied education at all be named Secretary of Education. It would be comical if it weren’t so sad. I watched her propose ideas that will further undermine and underfund already desperate public schools and the students they serve.

So, ze pointed out that public educations sucks for the teachers, and it sucks for the students, and *then* ze complained that someone *not* entrenched in 40 years of failed public education Kool-Aid drinking is now the Secretary of Education. If the past 40 years have sucked so bad, why would ze want MORE of that? I believe ze asked about the definition of insanity in zir post, did ze not?

I have gotten to the point where I believe that is the goal. Uneducated people are easier to manipulate, after all.

Well, 40 years of public education does seem to be producing uneducated, easily manipulate people. Educators built that result, but it’s somehow somebody else’s fault because money right?

Now I watch as politicians and regular, well-meaning people call for teachers to be armed. Now that is a knee-jerk reaction if I’ve ever seen one! There are so many problems with this “solution” that it’s hard to decide where to begin.

Teachers and well-meaning people are calling for teachers to be allowed to be armed. There is a difference.

(It strikes me funny that I’m still hoping to be heard. What’s the definition of insanity again? I’m going to try anyway.)

Another insanity reference, maybe it’s a cry for help.

I’ll start with a practical question: When will teachers find the time to properly train to kill our own students (AKA: your kids)?

This is a loaded question, and it is loaded with garbage. In Texas, Arkansas, South Dakota, Utah, and other states, the faculty and staff did not train to *kill* their students (a.k.a. “their” kids). They trained to *save* them from evil people like not-a-child 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz or not-a-child 20-year-old Adam Lanza. The former educator might not be able to find the time, lots of other people already have.

Have you ever killed a child? A child you know? A child you taught? A child you shared a great book or a laugh with last week? I haven’t (yet), but I’ll bet it takes a lot of practice to kill a child you know without flinching. There’s no time for flinching.

These questions are based on the false premise that one must be a stone cold ruthless killer to protect children. This is garbage.

Scott Beigel, 35, Geography Teacher, died ushering students into his classroom. It was the only way he had to protect them.

Aaron Feis, 37, Assistant Football Coach, died using his body as a human shield.

Now let’s address the nonsensical way the former educator tossed around the term, “child” as though school massacres are carried out by angel-faced elementary school children. They aren’t. Ze knows it. Everybody that pays attention knows it. If zir argument had merit, ze wouldn’t need to pretend mass shooters are little kiddies.

Yes, of course, I know the plan is that teachers should only shoot the students who are trying to shoot them, so that will make it easier on our tender teacher hearts, but gunfights do tend to get messy. It’s hard to imagine teachers will do a better job of it than soldiers and police. Friendly fire, casualty of war, collateral damage — so many new terms to introduce to our young students…

This is all garbage meant to mock the opposing viewpoint and anyone who dares to espouse it. Once again, let’s look at Texas, Arkansas, South Dakota, Utah, and other states. Does ze absurdly suggest they are teaching active shooting terminology to their students as though school has become a paramilitary environment? If ze did, then it’s a good thing ze got out of education. If ze didn’t, then ze just made that up. If one’s position has merit, one doesn’t need to make things up.

Which brings me to the next question: should teachers prioritize lesson planning over sharpshooter training, or would that be negligent? There are only so many hours in the day, after all. Not to mention, many teachers have second jobs they work evenings & weekends to pay off their student loans. Everyone knows teaching doesn’t pay the bills, LOL!

A Sharpshooter is qualified above Marksman and below Expert. There is no sharpshooter training; Sharpshooter is a qualification. Ze doesn’t want us to opine on solutions in schools, but ze is, like, super qualified to toss around military terms. Totally not ignorant. Or hypocritical. Totally.

And just to be classy, teachers should remember to assure parents at back-to-school night that they’ll try really hard not to accidentally kill their child. They’ll also need to remember to require parents sign off acknowledging they understand the district policy says they can’t sue over an accidental shooting. (CYA, for the win!)

What an arrogant display of condescension! Tell us, most enlightened former educator, when was the last time the police stopped by, just to be classy, and tell the parents that they’ll try really hard not to accidentally kill their child, and then require the parents to sign off acknowledging they understand the law enforcement policy says they can’t sue over an accidental shooting? It never happened, did it? Did it? Of course it didn’t. If one’s position actually has merit, one doesn’t have to make up arguments. Ze is full of garbage.

Another problem with this “solution” is the cost.

At least four other states have found it to be affordable. Maybe they know something ze doesn’t.

I find this point particularly enraging because what I’m hearing is that the money is somehow available to create small armies in schools, but it has not been there to invest in any of the meaningful things our students need to feel seen, heard, valued, and cared for so that we might prevent some of these horrific tragedies from happening in the first place.

Where is this money? How will the students feel seen, heard, valued, and cared for… if they’re dead? It seems like protecting them from a school shooter might be a priority, maybe?

I think about all the boxes of tissue, books, markers, copy paper, and even CPR certifications that I had to pay for out of my own pocket.

How many times could my students’ families not afford a field trip, so I paid for them to attend? How much money have I spent over the years to educate other people’s kids?

I don’t pay for office supplies, toner, and printer paper at my workplace. Why was ze paying to work at zir workplace? Who force zir to do that?

In truth, I don’t know. I stopped tracking it because it’s depressing and because I could only claim $250 of it on my taxes anyway. I’d spent that much before the first day of school each year …

If ze was forced to do that, then ze should sue for compensation. If ze spent that voluntarily, then ze ought to stop whining about zir bad choices.

But our government is telling us it can find the funds for guns, ammo, and training? And will body armor be included, or is that out-of-pocket?

Ze should ask the teachers in four states about how they did it. I’m betting ze didn’t do that, because ze didn’t know anyone already practiced concealed carry in schools.

What I can tell you is that I’d do it all again. I don’t regret a single dollar I invested in my students’ lives. I would just like to live in a country that believes children are a good investment too.

Ze doesn’t regret a single dollar… riiiiight! That’s why ze spent a significant portion of zir rant whining about money… because ze *didn’t* regret it. Sure.

This lack of investment in the well-being and growth of all the citizens of this country – our most precious resource – is an outright disgrace. Our priorities are so far out of whack, I’m surprised any of us can still tell up from down. With each passing day, it becomes harder to believe that this is real life.

One can almost picture zir in a green coat and black stocking cap bellowing in denial to no one in particular, or maybe wearing a pink pussy hat and screaming impotently at the sky.

I could go on. We could talk more about the liability issues, accidents, teachers going “postal” or how easily students might overtake teachers and grab their guns.

Why have these problems not occurred where teachers are allowed to carry concealed?

We could talk about how arming teachers doesn’t do a thing to address mass shootings in other public spaces, but I’ll leave all that for another time … hopefully, never.

Really? Arming teachers won’t address mass shootings in other places. Thanks, former educator! Without your insight, the rest of us would never have figured that out. Oh, wait.

One evil man, Devin Patrick Kelley, was not a school shooter. He ruthlessly massacred churchgoers in Sutherland Springs, Texas. It was kind of a big deal. Why did he stopped killing? It wasn’t that he ran out of ammo. It wasn’t that a SWAT team stopped him. It wasn’t that a Navy SEAL sniper stopped him. It wasn’t Green Berets or GBDFs. Nope. It was a neighbor—and NRA instructor—Stephen Willeford. He used his privately owned AR-15 (which too many people want banned) to shoot the killer.

Now is the time to focus on better understanding this problem, finding actual solutions and then doing the work necessary.

Great, me too. No one demands teachers moonlight as soldiers. No one wants all teachers armed. No one wants children to die. We have already tried the great experiment of gun-free zones; the result was mass shootings in movie theaters, malls, schools, college campuses, and churches.

The burden of massive societal ills is all-too-often placed on the shoulders of teachers. It’s not fair or reasonable, but teachers have become somewhat accustomed to it.

We get it. Teachers are saints. That’s why ze loved doing a job that ze hated. That’s why ze doesn’t regret spending personal money on the workplace, despite whinging about it repeatedly. Sainthood. What else?

We do have some ideas if you’re ready to listen. (Spoiler alert: most of us do not believe moonlighting as soldiers solves more problems than it creates.) Search #armmewith to see what teachers really need to help your kids — our kids. You’ll see patterns, if you look.

Please, listen to us. Listen to our students; listen to first responders; listen to veterans. Arming teachers is a distraction and very bad idea.

Now ze wants us to believe ze speaks for all first responders and all veterans too!

Speaking of first responders, in Parkland, Florida, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, Nikolas Cruz shot students and faculty UNOPPOSED FOR 6 LONG MINUTES. The deputy on the scene did not even attempt to do his job. When he was joined by three comrades, they did not even attempt to protect and serve.

Are those the first responders that think teachers don’t deserve the right to defend themselves and their students?

Scott Beigel, Aaron Feis, and 15 other people died helplessly, because no one inside had the means to fight back. Let us no longer embrace the insanity of inflicting defenselessness on entire locations. Look at the other schools that have found a solution.

Making good people into easy victims is a very bad idea.

What do I know? I’m Justa Gaibroh.



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