It’s amazing that the NRA and gun enthusiasts eagerly tout placing guns in the hands of teachers in order for them to protect their students. Clearly, they have no concept of what a teacher is already responsible for in the classroom – especially when it comes to younger students.
A teacher’s role is that of educator, assessor, mother, father, nurse, counselor, nutritionist, self-esteem builder, protector, and role model in addition to a myriad of other roles. Regular education classroom student counts can range from 16 to 35 plus.
I have reflected on my classroom and my kindergarten students and as hard as I try to visualize a scenario where I would have to settle 17 frightened students long enough to retrieve a locked and loaded gun to better protect them, I can’t fathom it being physically possible.
Yes, I have a moral obligation to protect my students and I will always do that to the best of my ability. I also have a moral obligation to be the best role model that I can be for them. The thought of having my students see me or any other teacher or administrator (the good guys) with gun pointed at the bad guys is incomprehensible to me.
There are many strategies already in place in schools across the nation to protect our children. There are also many other cost-effective strategies that can be used such as bullet proof windows and entry doors which might buy the added time needed for a successful school wide lock-down.
The Sandy Hook tragedy has awakened the nation to the societal needs we all need to address to prevent future tragedies. Rather than escalate an already gun-infused society, let’s begin early on in a child’s life to identify and respond to the signs of impending future loss of control by focusing on a child’s physiological, social and emotional needs in addition to academic needs. A balanced approach addressing the needs of the whole child can lead to the successful completion of the educational journey in addition to providing the child a well-established sense of self-worth advancing a self-assured, productive member of society.