Monday, May 30, 2022


Another shooting. 

At an elementary school this time. 

There are so many thoughts racing in my head, but this post is about the one where people begin to say, "arm the teachers" or "give teachers weapons" or "the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun".  

Each of those statements is absurd in it's own way. 

I was a teacher from 2012 when I started student teaching in Edmond, Oklahoma, until this past November 2021 when I resigned from my position at Walden Grove High School in Sahuarita, Arizona. I did take off a year for the 2019-2020 school year to work for a company that contracted to the state of Arizona and worked with Child & Public Safety. My opinions come from my time as a teacher and working in schools with students and other teachers as well as staff at these schools. I do not speak for all teachers, but I know that many teachers feel the same way as I do. 

I'm going to do a numbered list because it helps my brain keep track of shit. 

1. Law Enforcement Officers spend approximately 840 hours on basic training of those 168 are focused on weapons training, self-defense, and the use of force. In this most recent case three armed officers stayed outside because of their fear of getting shot. This is after all of this training. The laws being proposed to arm teachers do not give even a fraction of this amount of training with some states having zero minimum. 

2. If children often find where their parents store guns then it is highly likely that they will know where teachers and staff are storing weapons. Adults do not give kids enough credit in their perception of things. 

3. These laws expose teachers to additional liability risks. When I was still teaching we were not allowed to confiscate students phones because they are super expensive and if it broke we would not be covered from being responsible financially for that item. If we cannot be entrusted to confiscate a students phone without being financially responsible for that then why are we discussing handing out guns?

4. Teachers just want to teach. If they had wanted to do weapons training and learn to work as a tactical unit with their colleagues they would not have become teachers. This is true even of retired police, veterans, etc. who then become teachers. They are not living that life anymore. They want to teach, so let's let them do that. 

5. Teachers will just become the first targets to eliminate in the case of a school shooter. A dead teacher with a gun is ineffectual at stopping the target. 

6. Schools already lack funding. I taught at a school in OKC that had text books which did not discuss the events of 9/11. This was in 2014. If we cannot provide textbooks or buildings without black mold (worked in one of those too) then how can we provide weapons training, self-defense training, guns, ammunition, and continued training to ensure the faculty & staff can work as a team during an active shooter situation? Will the money be found because we are making a statement that as a country we support guns but not education?

7. Protection of students should come first. The teacher should not have to decide whether to stay with the students and protect them or to chase the school shooter to stop them. 

8. The personality types of the majority of teachers does not lend itself to being able to shoot someone. Teachers are helpers, nurturers...and the most likely scenario is that when that former student who is looking for suicide as a the way out comes they're going to try to talk to them. They're going to want to help them because their heart tells them to never give up on any student. Then they're going to be shot and the shooting will continue until someone puts a bullet in the shooter's head. 

I know that sounds really harsh. But I can count on one hand the number of teachers I have personally worked with that I think would have the mental and physical capacity to stop an active shooter. And they are all people who have previously experienced an active shooter situation. Because it is one thing to play it out in a training scenario, but it's another thing when bullets are flying and you have to make the decision to fire at a child, one who possibly sat in your classroom a few years back. 

This article contains links on how you can donate to help the families at Utvalde. How to Help

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