Technology that We do NOT need in our schools.

In response to the National Rifle Association’s reactionary proposal about adding armed guards in America’s schools and in response to learning about educators in Utah learning how to carry and use concealed weapons in schools, I feel it is my responsibility as a US citizen (World Citizen) and educator of children to explain exactly why I am against this movement and why this technology is not necessary in our school systems.  In fact in a rare case, I am actually siding with the presidents of the two biggest U.S. teachers’ unions, who said in a joint statement recently: “We must do everything we can to reduce the possibility of any gunfire in schools, and concentrate on ways to keep all guns off school property and ensure the safety of children and school employees.”  By “all” I certainly hope that they are referring to any additional usage of armed guards in our schools. 


As a teacher of middle school and high school students, I am perfectly aware of the emotions that students bring to the classroom daily.  The classroom stage is a place for students to learn not only academic curriculum but also social responsibilities.  It is an environment in which the future is modeled.  It is an environment that is sacred and deserves to model compromise, thoughtful discussion, meaningful answers, empathy, listening skills, and tact.  Educators have to mean what they say and say what they mean.  Any participation in carrying a concealed weapon for self defense is detrimental to the trust necessary to be established for a better society.  We are a foolish nation that thinks training teachers to carry and to use concealed weapons will somehow solve the problem of lunatics causing chaos.


Second, emotional days do exist in teacher’s lives.  Teachers are not perfect.  Teachers can not continue to be the answer to all of societal problems.  Teachers should not continually be trained for processes outside of education, teaching, and learning.  I believe this reactionary proposal and the training of educators to use weapons in Utah is a recipe for future failures of Teachers.  We took the paddle out of the school for a clear reason, but we are proposing to bring the gun into the classroom mathematically increasing the odds of death in schools. 


Thirdly, training individuals to guard schools is an economic disaster for our schools as well as a personnel issue.  Schools can not afford another administrative person when they can not even afford to have simple computers in every classroom.  Schools also do not have additional personnel who are qualified to do this.  Think about it who is going to carry the weapon?  A Bus driver?  The Chef?  The Secretary?  An armed security guard? 


Our classrooms and our schools are sacred environments, and they are built upon trust.  Our educational process is being treaded upon by a fearful movement that needs to more carefully research what they are proposing.  As a teacher who has cried over the horrific events that have happened in our schools and especially in Newtown, a parent of a child in middle school, a concerned citizen, and a teacher who was once placed upon an angry student’s hit list (who was caught in time, expelled, and received help),  I am clearly stating that gun technology is not what we need to bring into the daily lives of our school administrators, teachers, support staff, or our future leaders of America. 


What is a school?

Because I see a society that has so many views of and associations for the word school.  I began studying the Merriam-Webster definitions for the term school.   With references to the actual buildings, groups of thought, and an institutionalized organization, the word itself can imply a variety of meanings and can be used in many references that simply fall short.   Society’s definition and understanding of the word school can miss the most important points of learning interactions among scholars and teachers.  Therefore, I prefer the definition as a group of scholars and teachers pursuing knowledge together.

With this in mind, I am concerned about how the news reports upon our schools.  I can easily read articles about new multi-million dollar buildings being built, expensive technologies implemented, sport team championships, and famous visitors.  While these stories reflect important aspects of schools, they do not investigate, demonstrate, or present what really needs to be defined for the American public . . . a group of scholars and teachers pursuing knowledge together.  Consequently, I believe lesser informed parents, politicians, citizens, and critics of the school system have not understood the complexities of the profession nor the benefits of what currently exists.

Groups of scholars and teachers are pursuing knowledge together on a daily basis in a majority of classrooms across the nation, and the process is as complex as the human brain.  The media needs to interview that, capture that upon its cameras, and display that to the world.  Buildings, Technologies, Sports Teams, Performances, and Other Extras are simply that . . . extras.  The school is a group of scholars and teachers pursuing knowledge together.  When that happens a school can grow, move, adapt, excite, challenge, produce, innovate, transform, plan, develop, solve, predict, experiment, construct, improvise, and invent in any educational environment.