Guns In the Classroom

After dedicating 18+ years of my life to teaching high school before retiring this year, I can say with authority that arming teachers with weapons is a very bad and dangerous idea. While some of my former colleagues may disagree, I assert that only more tragedy will occur on an armed-and-ready-to-shoot campus.

Most people who propose arming teachers have not set foot on a high school campus since they graduated. So let me enlighten you. Schools are over crowded. My last teaching assignment was at an at-risk school – the largest Title I school in Nevada. I had 230 students. Most classes exceeded 40 students. Desks were jammed so close together that in an effort to assist students, I had to squeeze between desks. In that type of proximity, a motivated student could have disarmed me in seconds.

While most of my students were great kids, I had legitimate gang bangers, criminals, and mentally disturbed kids together in some classes. There were some scary moments when bloody fights broke out in my classroom between students who felt disrespected at the moment or were getting even for some earlier offense. Rogue students roamed the hallways – popping into random classrooms to disrupt instruction or call out to a friend or enemy. It typically took 5-10 minutes for the administration to respond to one of my desperate calls for a hall monitor or dean after a student went over the edge and began threatening me or another student.

Guns on campus will cause more problems than they solve.

Guns will be confiscated from teachers. A group of determined students could easily overpower most teachers – not just a 145-pound, fifty-something-year-old woman. Plus, many teachers would end up accidentally shooting themselves or a student. Even if locked in a desk drawer or cabinet, that gun is not secure from a student who is hell-bent on getting access to it.

So, do we need to change the qualifications for teaching?

Rather than being certified in a content area, should teachers be required to be weapon certified? Which is more important: a teacher who is gun savvy and bulky enough to intimidate their students, or someone who is committed to providing students with the best education possible?

What if we just allow those teachers who are comfortable shooting guns to arm themselves in class?

Students will quickly ascertain which teachers are “carriers” and which teachers are not. A prospective student assassin will know which classes to target and which classes to avoid.

What about metal detectors?

Bring them, if that is what it takes to be safe! I would much rather suffer the inconvenience of going through security every morning than working in an armed-and-potentially-dangerous environment.

I have had discussions with family members, friends, and even one of my doctors who advocated that I carry a gun in the classroom. No thank you. I promoted my classroom to be a place of peace, and I hope that the future of education in our nation supports peace over turning school campuses into fear-induced war zones.

FU Facebook

We have made a deal with the devil. In exchange for superficial contact with anyone we have ever known – wherein photos, experiences, and opinions are shared – we have relinquished the intimate details of our lives, which are used to manipulate our every thought and action. We have sold our souls to social media.

The assault has been incremental.

It has been years since we first realized that our internet searches were being tracked by the search engine we were using. As unsettling as it was, we eagerly leaped to engage with the ads and actions that were presented to us. Google knows I am concerned about eczema, vegan banana bread, and Bernie Sanders. If I search for flights to Dublin today, tomorrow I will see ads for hotel rooms in the Temple Bar district. Similarly, I was somewhat relieved to know that Chase VISA pays enough attention to my purchasing habits to hypothetically question a charge for cowboy boots in Austin while ignoring an expensive meal in Seattle. Welcome to the world of big data.

The steady advance into the Orwellian future goes largely unnoticed. The secrets of our souls were not stolen from us; rather, we gave them away. We reveal our innermost thoughts via our clickbait selections. We eagerly participate in quizzes concerning which state or nation we most closely identify, take IQ tests, and offer up photos of ourselves to be morphed into a celebrity image. Recently, people have been sharing their family names: my dad is a Clark, his mother was a Smith, my mother was a Weaver, and her mother was a Grant. Perfect, with our Social Security numbers, which are all over the internet – thank you Experian – and our Happy Birthday posts on Facebook, identity thieves have EVERYTHING they need to ruin our lives.

Ethically Corrupt

Facebook jumped the shark when they invited Russian operatives to access our private information and allowed them to micro-target propaganda in order to skew the 2016 election. Really Facebook, you didn’t question political ads paid for in rubles. You installed employees into the Trump campaign to assist in their propaganda efforts. You sold out our nation for financial gain.

This is treason!

Users beware, Facebook is not your friend. In the beginning, it was a great place to communicate with friends and family. I enjoyed seeing photos of grandkids, nieces and nephews, and vacation adventures. However, more and more, my Facebook page became inundated with commercial ads and political memes from entities I did not invite. And sadly, I do not get to chose what ads I see or what friends’ posts I see – Facebook chooses for me!

Our world is like an episode of Black Mirror.

We are a generation addicted to social media. Constantly checking. Do we have enough “followers?” Do we have enough “likes?” Is everyone paying attention? Is anyone paying attention? How does my life, my child, my car, my vacation compare to that of my peers? We have forsaken meaningful relationships and experiences and replaced them with virtual relationships and experiences. There is little to no truth in this virtual reality. We can digitally create our reality or allow Facebook to create it for us.