I taught public school for thirteen years in Philadelphia's roughest neighborhoods, and I can tell you from first-hand experience that allowing teachers to carry guns in the classroom is a horrible idea for a lot of reasons. Breaking news swept the nation as several Florida resource officers known as the "cowards of Broward" allowed troubled and demented Nikolas Cruz to shoot up the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school in Florida. It was horrible watching and writing news stories about it, but documenting reality is my job. Reading about the most difficult and controversial topics is something we all need to embrace in hopes to understand each other and the viewpoints we express.
I used to teach, but the job turned into a test factory where students were nothing more than a number and teachers were the mistreated underpaid, and overworked slaves dedicated to gaining the numbers. Teaching wasn't teaching anymore; it was robotic nonsense that people showed up to do like the worst rendition of Groundhog Day, except we didn't get to hang with Bill Murray.
My days in education ended not even halfway through the 2017-2018 school year as I realized that I no longer loved teaching and essentially hated everything the job encompassed. Perhaps it was just because Philadelphia's school district's existence was based on corruption, budget issues, spending too much money in the wrong places, and leaving 10,000+ Philadelphia teachers to fight for their supplies, steal from home, and then work in unhealthy conditions of overcrowded classrooms in understaffed buildings. If you want to know precisely why teachers should not ever have a gun in the school, then let's take a walk through a typical experience in the School District of Philadelphia (SDP). Once you understand what it's like to be a teacher, then you'll truly understand why the idea of a teacher with a gun is the most assinine idea one could come up with in the conversation of making schools safer.
A typical day as a teacher in the SDP starts by waking up realizing you're underpaid, underappreciated, are forced to force students into testing, half the parents hate you, the principals don't care, and at least half of the teachers at your school are miserable. Maybe the younger teacher who went out on a random Tuesday night and got laid by a stranger at dive bar had a slight glow, but even that gets dimmed the moment they walk into their underfunded and overcrowded classroom.
You wake up after the third press of the snooze button and realize that you don’t have much food in the fridge and you’ll be grabbing something from Dunkin on the way. That means paying for a cup of coffee and the cheapest food item on your credit card, but that’s fine because you’re a teacher and teachers aren’t supposed to have any money according to every person who hasn’t worked a day in the life of an underpaid teacher. You jack up the limit on your card and head to work, praying that you don’t get stuck behind a Philly opioid abuser parading their zombie bodies in the streets and showing their tits for money so they can shoot up or take the next drug.
I worked at a school, not the bottom barrel strip club, but there were quite a few times the tops came off in hopes I would toss a few ones out of my windows. Unfortunately, the breasts of a middle-aged drug abuser won’t cut it for me. One time I had considered licking a few pennies and hoping that when I threw them at the topless addict, that they would stick to their skin like a piece of wet ham. I didn’t know where those pennies were before me, so I skipped the damp penny trick. The anxiety of getting to work on time and not running over a dope fiend should’ve been enough to drive anyone crazy. That was just the start of the day. It was barely 8 am.
I pulled into the school parking lot and waved at people who also didn’t want to be there. I waited for a spot that would allow me to leave the job as fast as possible. Walk into the building, sign into a book if I’m not late, and then walk upstairs to sit on my laptop and do nothing until the day starts. I previously used that time to practice my lessons and ensure the classroom was prepared. That ended when I realized I was expendable and anyone could take my job at any moment. Teachers are worthless to school districts, so I began acting like it. I would have usually gotten supplies ready, but since I worked at a public school, there were no supplies. Most of the time there was not enough textbooks and I’d have to borrow them from other classrooms.
It’s about 8:20 and I already hate my life. I thought it was bad and filled with anxiety just trying to be on time at work. See, I couldn't leave any earlier because my child couldn't go to her daycare earlier than 7 am. I was in a bind filled with red circles around my name if I showed up one second beyond 8:20, even though class didn't begin until after 8:30. I could get it done, but it often required me running red lights at pointless intersections that no one else was at. It was safe because there were no other cars in sight, but I wouldn't recommend it.
With the exception of a few teachers who I absolutely admired, I could not stand to enjoy another second in that job.
The day goes by, and I teach my lessons as best as possible, and then I leave. I always taught the kids like they were my own. No matter how much I hated the Philly school district or how much I knew that the superintendent and principals could care less about the teachers or kids, I still cared about them. I hated the job no matter what, but I knew the kids deserved to be educated. It drove me mental, and it was not because of the kids. The kids in the district are great, but the lack of support and treatment of teachers in a public school setting is abysmal.
This was every day.
I could not wait to leave.
I called out all the time because I could not stand being there.
I couldn’t tolerate the fact that our superintendent was paid $300k and given a $12k raise for the work that WE did, while we waited FIVE years to get our very tiny raise. Nothing made sense in this job, and it drove me to a dark mental place. I invested 13 years of my life towards retirement and nice pension while making a difference in the lives of others, but no one above my paygrade could care less if myself or any of us were there. I was almost at my halfway mark for retirement and I didn’t care to do it anymore.
Then there are days where one of the principal’s little doggy friends would walk in and hand me a stack of standardized tests. These were teachers who took on the role of the "principal assistant" aka "dean," and they basically walked around or sat around doing nothing. I can't exactly say what they were responsible for, but for having two deans in the school, you'd think there'd be more accomplished.
If the tests weren't delivered, then I’d be forced to walk down the hall to get my own, then forced to administer the tests, then forced to bring them back.
There we were. It was me and the kids and none of us cared about the PSSA standardized tests. It was a joke. No one cared about it except for the people who somehow got paid.
There was about a month of testing going on where I was required to do nothing but walk circles around a room. I was entirely useless to my students, and I wasn’t allowed to be anything else. If you’re wondering about the perfect time to blow your brains out, then this is probably it. If you're a person who wants to be active with the students and give a good lesson, then standardized testing is essentially modern day medieval torture.
You’re forced to be invisible and useless to your students. I watched kids take a test in the middle of the year, on stuff that’s taught at the end of the year, knowing they don’t have a chance. They were set up to fail. There’s nothing that would have been more fun than letting the kids shoot holes in those worthless tests.
Teachers, students, and families are sick of this unnecessary testing. I know that if guns were allowed in the classroom, that there would be at least one suicide per year when teachers are pushed to the edge.
Teachers are overworked.
They deal with horrible principals who walk around with their nose in the air accomplishing nothing and doing nothing to support their staff. Teachers watch the higher-ups get shady raises and rake in $300k with a $12k bonus while teachers often wait for ages for their raise thanks to contract disputes.
Then teachers have to deal with bad parents. Let’s just put this out there right now - the kids who can’t behave at school come from parents who can’t act right in society. Some terrible parents send kids to schools without supplies, don't ever do homework, and then they look at the teacher with crossed eyes like YOU did something wrong. That's when teachers give the stink eye that means "Honey, see yourself out and read a damn book to your kid."
The teachers and some staff members are the only gems in the rough when it comes to public schools in Philadelphia. For every ten great parents, there’s always one or two who are straight up hoodrats who do not discipline their children, do not do homework, and should not be allowed to have children. You know them when you see them. They have at least one child in every grade, all by different fathers, and they’re still dressed in their pajamas when they pick their kids up. Then on the first of the month, those same moms come to school with their hair did, nails did, new phone, and some skanky shirt showing their new tattoo and their waffle shaped stretch-mark titties sticking out like they're trying to hookup in the schoolyard. You’d think they would spend a few dollars of their welfare money to get their kid something for lunch, clothes, or supplies, but those are the kids who come in with the least.
If you get stuck in a classroom with a few kids who have horrible parents like that, then guess what might happen to that gun in the school? They’re going to steal it, and something terrible will happen.
One year I had a third grader sneak into my classroom when I wasn’t there. He and another boy stole a laptop and made it out of the building, all the way home, and our school police had to retrieve the computer. These kids were eight years old.
I worked at another school where the middle school kids threw vodka parties, smoked weed, and had sex in the building. There was always massive fistfights in the hallways. The teachers were continuously harassed, spit on, bullied, and most of them quit. If there wasn’t a trail of blood leading from the third floor to the nurse's office from the punched out windows, then I knew it was a slow day. I can’t even count how many times the police and ambulance took kids away who was passed out drunk at school. This only went up to eighth grade, so you can imagine what they were like when they went to high school.
Can you imagine a gun in those classrooms? The weapon would get stolen, and someone would get shot. Or, a teacher would end up shooting themselves in the head in front of the kids.
Teaching is a job that requires people to be mentally stable. If we’re begging society for mental health checks for gun buyers, then any teacher carrying a weapon should undergo a psychological test too.
Let’s factor in some other reasons why no teacher should ever have a gun in a classroom. One factor is that some teachers are just out of shape. If a teacher was supposed to have a gun in a classroom, but they're too out of shape to handle it properly or react quickly in the event of a shooter or a child steals it - then it's a bad idea waiting to end horribly.
What about the far left liberal teachers? These are the Bernie/Hillary supporters who hate Trump, but can’t explain why they hate Trump. They just hate him and call him a racist, sexist, or anything else that's not true. He might be orange, slightly unpresidential, and odd, but throwing the other accusations without evidence out of anger is irresponsible.
The hardcore liberals often inject their political feelings into the classroom and try to indoctrinate students to fit the liberal lifestyle. These are the smug white people who say "black lives matter," but they have the latest iPhone and live in an all-white neighborhood. These are the same people who think it’s acceptable to allow transgender students to use the wrong bathroom and allow boys to invade the girls only space. As if girls weren’t already dealing with enough in middle school as they get their first period, the delusional liberals wanted to allow boys to go in the girls room too. Can’t the girls get any privacy of their own?
I saw a video of one teacher shooting a picture of Trump at school. Another teacher told kids they could not wear their Trump shirt at school. These people shouldn’t be teachers, and there’s no way they would ever pass a mental health screening if that were required to buy a gun. So this means any teacher who is a far left liberal should not be trusted with a gun because we can't trust them to do their job without harming kids. I've seen a lot of awful t-shirts in my life, but it's none of my business what anyone else wears, and I'm certainly not letting a silly piece of fabric conjure a meltdown in my body.
Kids wear a lot of stupid things to school, but that's what kids do. I wouldn't trust anyone in a room with my kid if an offensive shirt was all it took to get them unraveled. But some people want to give them a gun?
Another factor is that not every teacher wants a gun. Not everyone wants to be asked to murder someone. Teachers want to teach math, reading, science, etc. - not shoot people. There’s nothing in the lesson plans about shooting an intruder. There’s nothing at the worthless professional development meetings that tell you how to feel after you kill someone. Murder is not something everyone wants to be part of, even if it’s in self-defense. It can be traumatizing to kill someone and teachers have enough jobs to do since they do everyone else's job anyway.
Some people brought up a hilarious question about who would buy the guns? The administration at many public schools spend the funding wrong, and it somehow vanishes, and our schools are always understaffed. No one knows where the money goes because it does not go to teachers or students. So where does it go? And who is paying for every teacher to have a gun? It wasn’t coming out of my Dunkin Donut fund. No chance. Who is paying for every teacher to get mental health checks, physicals, and firearm safety and shooting training? I imagine all the supplies and testing is going to be expensive and perhaps we could use that money to put more teachers in the classrooms and give kids reasons not to shoot each other.
Public schools are funded just fine, but it’s the administration of each school district who dishes out the money and constantly spends it incorrectly or fraudulently. If schools can’t buy pencils and paper, then why would they spend money on pistols and bullets?
What about the parents who attack teachers? Do we need to get to a point where the teacher has a gun and shoots their student’s parent? Could you imagine something escalating that far during a parent-teacher conference?
Lastly, let’s talk about the teachers who have no idea what they’re doing. While I could get a lesson plan done in 20 minutes that targeted the most important concepts a child needed to learn, some people spend an entire week to do the same thing, and their lessons suck. Some teachers can’t control their students because they don’t know how to relate to the kids or they get walked over because they’re soft and lack classroom management. Teaching is a job that requires teachers to be adaptable to their students, setting, an entire environment.
Some people can’t do it.
They are mentally burned out and no amount of coffee sparks them back into loving their job. I burnt out mentally because I hated what the position had become. What used to be a fun-filled day of doing projects and teaching kids who were eager to learn has become a testing farm or factory. If a month of my life is going to be wasted walking around being useless, then I’ll do it at the supermarket or the mall. My reasons for quitting were that the job had turned into something that it was not supposed to be. There had to be something else I could do that I enjoyed again because that wasn’t it.
Some teachers have a bad day every single day of their job. They go home crying. They can’t handle it. They’re burnt out, and it’s only the second week. Do we want someone who is already struggling to be anywhere near a gun? Teachers are real people with real emotions. Some teachers dedicate their entire life to this job, but they are constantly mistreated. Why should we ask them to carry a gun and protect themselves because WE as a society cannot protect them at their job?
Teachers should not ever have a gun in the classroom because there are too many variables that would lead to teachers committing suicide, gun accidents, and students who steal the gun and shoot someone or themselves. There’s no reason a teacher should ever need a gun in the classroom because the school district and city should provide security to the schools.
Teachers are not the protectors; they’re the ones who should be protected.
We send our kids to them and trust they will do an excellent job for us. Why aren't we doing a good job for the teachers who take care of our kids? We need to stand up for them and treat them like the gold that they are. We don't need to arm teachers; we need to protect teachers.
Now let’s discuss some solutions that would prevent school shootings.
It starts at home. Some parents are horrible people. They need help. Their kids need help. There should be programs available that help struggling families regain order and discipline and respect in their home. A kid who is raised well at home will most likely not be the type of kid who shoots up a school. If kids stop being jerks to each other, then that also helps. We can’t all be perfect, but if a teacher sees a family who is struggling to raise one of their children, then there should be a way that family can receive some support to keep them on track, especially if teachers sense that a student might need some mental health assistance.
When children arrive at school, then there should be metal detectors if the school has kids in grades 6 and higher. Metal detectors will not ever prevent a school shooting. Metal detectors are to protect kids from each other. If student A has a problem with student B, and A wants to shoot B in the face at lunch, then a metal detector will prevent that. If a school shooter arrives and walks through the metal detector, and someone asks for their gun, then the killer will shoot the people in line at the metal detector. A metal detector doesn't stop someone who is bent on committing mass murder.
Schools need at least two real police officers in every building. If the school has multiple buildings, then each building gets two policemen. We could use local police or National Guard reserves. Local police might enjoy spending a few days at a school as part of their rotation. Our American cops deal with so much nonsense on the job that a few days in a decent school would be a gift to them.
What about “school police?” The answer to that is no thanks if they are not a real police officer. I don’t want retired people patrolling. I don’t want 72-year-old veterans. I want cops who are in shape and able to react quickly to a school shooting scenario. I want the best of the best, not the old, lazy, out of shape, or retired people who might just be collecting a check. This is a job that could require an officer to run and do something physically crazy to save kids, so it doesn’t make sense to give retired people this position. I want police or military members who are in great shape and not just there to get a paycheck to thicken their retirement. I don’t want fake mall cops either. I want the real thing because they have the REAL training and experience.
A combination of teachers being alert and notifying mental health services when they see kids in need, metal detectors (as needed), and two armed police or military officers in every school building should be enough to scare school shooters away.
As a former teacher whose seen a lot of craziness during my tenure, I’d like to say that teachers deserve to be protected, but not asked to do the protecting.
There will be a lot of discussion going on, so share this and give your opinion.
I want armed police or National Guardsman in the schools because they're already trained with firearms, have prepared for battle, and would address a school shooter by taking them out and saving lives. The school resource officers, aka, the cowards of Broward, stayed outside to allow 17 students and staff to be murdered in the Florida school shooting.
What is your solution to preventing school shootings? Share your opinion in the comments and send the article to a friend.Photo Credit: Army.mil