Monday, August 18, 2008

My day, some reading material, and guns in schools

For those of you who were wondering, I finally went running today. Woke up at 7:00, ran, gave myself sore calves, met with my tutoring student, ate real food for lunch (cage-free eggs from vegetarian-fed hens), and took three massive crates of classroom stuff and a couple boxes of education books up to my classroom. All in all, a pretty productive day. (No, I didn't do anything with the stuff in my classroom. That's on the schedule for tomorrow.)

How did I accomplish all this in one day? I kept the laptop closed. (Until now, of course.) Remember my friend Google Reader? Yes, the one otherwise known as a blogger's crack-cocaine. Guess what I've found now?!?

Teacher blogs.

I could spend hours here.

This post, from The Daily Grind, made me think about how I view, and consquently treat, my students. Probably should print it out and keep it in my gradebook, so I'm constantly reminded to look at my students as what they have the potential to become, not merely as what they are (or what labels we've affixed to them).

Now, this other post, from On Teaching, made me cringe. (Not the post - the news story.) Harold ISD, somewhere north(ish?) of here, is going to allow its teachers to bring guns to school. Because of potential school shootings.

The district has a total of 110 students, in one building. But they're close to a highway, which makes them "a target." For what?!?

School shootings happen when a kid is mad at another kid - or, in Columbine's case, mad at a whole lot of kids. The mad kid then takes Daddy's gun (Daddy is a responsible gun-owner, but kids know how to gain access to things. That's what kids do), takes it to school, and kills someone. So now we're going to eliminate the middle man, and put the guns right there in the schools?

Kids are smarter than most adults tend to think they are. If your teacher is carrying a gun, the kids are going to know. They are going to find out - trust me. At the high school where I used to teach, not five minutes into the class period one of my students asked me if I'd gotten engaged over the winter break. She noticed I was wearing a ring on my left hand - not a traditional-looking engagement ring, just a ring. You think they're not going to notice a gun-shaped lump under my clothes?

An old boyfriend told me stories of how he and his buddies would hide Mrs. So-and-So's prized possession, a bust of Shakespeare. This became a game - she would always stash it somewhere safe and secure before class, because she knew the boys liked to take it from her, but the boys always found a way to get it. Always. Even though it was hidden under lock and key.

What's going to happen to a gun?

If any one of the boys at my high school decided he wanted to take my gun from me, he'd win. I can assure you a high school boy - especially those football players - can overpower me. What if four or five of them decide to play a little prank on me? On any teacher? They don't have to be doing it to be mean; they don't even need to have the intention to keep or use the gun after they wrestle it from you - mob mentality (and high school is, for the most part, mob mentality on steroids) doesn't need a reason or a rational train of thought. But guess what's very likely to happen during the scuffle.

Why open up this can of worms? Is this district really in that much danger? Why on Earth can't they take the money the "crisis training" (and lawsuits) will cost, and hire a cop? Or move the freaking building?

If you read the comments on the Star-Telegram story, they're appalling. The overwhelming majority of people think this is a good idea. Some even claim to be teachers. I don't what their classrooms look like, but in my classroom, carrying a gun would NOT make life easier in any way, shape, or form. I Googled Harold ISD, and found a "mommy" discussion board, which I was sure would condemn this action... nope, again, all the moms thought it was a great idea. Okay, not all the moms, but, again, the overwhelming majority supported it.

Why is this not more in the news? Are they actually going to go through with it?


School starts one week from today. Is Harold ISD actually going to go through with this? For no good reason (or, definitely, no good enough reason)?

What's going to happen to the rest of us, once this precedent is set?


  1. I read the article about Harrold in the Star-Telegram, and I remember for days after looking for the followup, and it never came. I think there was one letter to the editor calling it a bad idea, but that was it.

    I'm not a teacher, but I'm appalled too.

    Reading the article, I kept thinking about one of the high schools I went to in Baltimore, where race fighting was a huge problem. Rumors of riots would get the whole school sent home for the day. We had metal detectors installed, but no one needed guns.

    And you know what? No one got shot either, even though the teachers weren't armed.

    I hope someone in Harrold realizes this is a bad idea before someone goofs up in a very regrettable way.

  2. i live alllllllll alone!