When I made the decision to become a teacher, I envisioned the potential impact I would have on the lives of my students. I hoped to make a difference in their lives. The image of a classroom engaged in interesting projects that lead to discovery excited me. I could picture the students investigating and exploring, chatting and debating, reading and researching- all in a stimulating, nurturing environment. I understood that other duties were part of my profession. I would be a secretary and a nurse. I would be a counselor and a nutritionist. Sure enough, I was correct. However, at NO point did I imagine myself using a gun. The thought of that would have made me rethink my choice of profession.
In response to the tragedy that took place in Newtown, Connecticut, where children and school staff died at the hands of a mentally ill individual, some states have reacted swiftly with gun training for teachers. They have even gone so far as to seek publicly-funded teacher gun training. Is this really happening? Are we allowing this to change the culture of school campuses? Will the trend of armed security guards and metal detectors be a commonplace?
Schools across the nation have revisited their practices related to arming school personnel. In Ohio it is legal to bring a concealed weapon on school grounds and after the Sandy Hook tragedy this practice will likely increase. There has been a spike in school personnel participating in firearms training. Utah has a 12-year history of allowing teachers to carry guns and boasts no accidental or intentional shootings.
What implications does this have for teachers? As educators, we must strongly consider where we stand and the message we are sending. Will we support this short-sighted response to tragedies like Columbine and Sandy Hook? I admired the teachers who acted peacefully to protect the children that day. They represented what is good and right in our society.
By Marisol Rexach, Ph.D. in Education Student