Last week there was a horrible shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. There are many important and hard conversations happening in our country about how to keep our children safe. Trump’s idea is to give guns to teachers. All the teachers I’ve spoken to and read about aren’t having it.
America’s priorities are piss-poor. As a nation, we claim to care so much about education but that’s a bold-faced lie. Education is America’s biggest scapegoat. It is both the blame and the fix for everything that goes wrong in our society.
According to the New York Times,
President Trump on Thursday enthusiastically embraced a National Rifle Association position to arm highly trained teachers to fortify schools against mass shootings like the one last week. Mr. Trump, who said the armed teachers should receive extra pay as an incentive, promoted his idea as demands for stronger gun control intensified across the country.
“You give them a little bit of a bonus, so practically for free, you have now made the school into a hardened target,” Mr. Trump said. The president estimated that 10 percent to 40 percent of school employees would be qualified to handle a weapon — he offered no data for the claim — and said he would devote federal money to training them.
President Trump took to Twitter — his favorite mode of communication, it appears — and tweeted out the following comment:
….immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions. Highly trained teachers would also serve as a deterrent to the cowards that do this. Far more assets at much less cost than guards. A “gun free” school is a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018
So let me get this straight — you have money to give an “incentive” to, as a teacher, carry a gun, but you have no money to close the equity gap in education that is horrendously divided along socioeconomic and racial lines?
The reaction from my fellow teachers has been swift and negative. Look no further than the social media movement that popped up seemingly instantly, #ArmMeWith.
On Twitter and on Instagram, teachers have taken to writing the hashtag atop sheets of paper with lists of things they would much rather have in their classrooms than guns.
I’m hosting a Twitter chat tomorrow alongside other educators, parents, and community members around the nation to discuss this topic because IT’S JUST THAT SERIOUS!
Before #ArmMeWith started trending, 2016 Washington State Teacher of the Year Nate Bowling was already expressing a very similar idea.
Y'all, the list of things I would rather have at school more than a gun is very long and begins with a well functioning copier. Teachers feel free to add to the list…
— nate bowling (@nate_bowling) February 22, 2018
Shanna Peeples is the 2015 National Teacher of the Year. She’s also unimpressed with the idea of arming teachers, and she said so on Twitter.
This is bar none, the worst theory of action I’ve ever heard https://t.co/4nQAtjCZA4
— Shanna Peeples (@ShannaPeeples) February 21, 2018
Educator and poet Clint Smith couldn’t believe it when he saw the suggestion of gun-toting teachers.
We don’t give public school teachers enough books. We don’t give teachers enough technology. We don’t give teachers enough support.
To suggest that what we *do* need to provide teachers with is access to guns is egregious & irresponsible beyond words.
— Clint Smith (@ClintSmithIII) February 22, 2018
Michelle Pearson, the 2011 Colorado State Teacher of the Year, wrote for Education Post, “Mr. President, I am not interested in being trained as an expert in gun use.”
Neither am I, Michelle. Neither am I.
For U.S. News & World Report, Gina Caneva pleaded with the president to not give her a gun.
It’s not just teachers speaking out about the issue, either. Their bosses aren’t pleased with teachers carrying weapons.
Alberto M. Carvalho, the superintendent of Miami schools, took a strong stance and said not on his watch.
Not on my watch will we ever support the idea of arming teachers with guns in our classrooms. They are armed with inspiration, they instruct, they lead, and they have a right to do it safely without being the ones tasked with guaranteeing it for everyone else. #Broward #GunReform https://t.co/mYP94kWldb
— Alberto M. Carvalho (@MiamiSup) February 22, 2018
An emotionally and psychologically depraved person walked into a school in Florida and opened fire on innocent, unassuming students, faculty, and staff. Instead of addressing the obvious violence issue that we have in this country, the response of the leader of the free world is to arm certain highly effective teachers with guns to protect the children! Of course! Let’s ask teachers to do one more thing — as if we don’t already do enough.
Who exactly will these highly effective teachers be? What happens — because it will happen if this legislature moves forward — when such teachers begin to take matters into their own hands and begin shooting students by whom they feel threatened? The school-to-prison-pipeline will then officially morph into the school-to-grave-pipeline because it would without a doubt be a whole bunch of Black and Brown boys and girls dead. They are already overly disciplined and overly suspended as it is. Arming teachers with guns would seal the deal of the agenda that the educational system already has in place for them. Sadly, imparting knowledge worth knowing is on the bottom of that list.
And no, more metal detectors is not the answer. Are you going to put metal detectors in the affluent, predominantly White populated schools? School shootings don’t usually happen in the hood and are not perpetuated by those living in the hood. Arming teachers??? The POTUS and the NRA want to arm teachers? The government can barely find money to provide me and my students with copy paper and dry-erase markers, but now all of a sudden you have money to buy me a gun AND give me a bonus for toting it? I’ve seen it all!
Thanks, but no thanks! I’m not carrying a gun!
I’m called to teach, not taze!
I’m called to teach, not tote a firearm!
I’m called to teach, not terrorize!
I’m called to teach, not take down!
I am a teacher so, thanks, but no thanks! I’m not carrying a gun!