Arm me with a voice. Arm me with support. Arm me with books. Arm me with love. Arm me with a broader understanding of the countless stressors these kids face in today’s society. Arm me with politicians who are intelligent enough to realize guns are not the answer. If arming me with a gun is your solution to the “mass school shootings epidemic” we are now living and teaching in, than you are part of the problem.
What recently transpired in Parkland, Florida was tragic, every mass shooting is. But the answer politicians are proposing is seriously flawed. There WAS a trained resource officer who was working on site that day at the school in Florida. He WAS armed with the weapon that politicians suggest teachers should someday carry. How that person reacted in that situation however is something that CAN NOT be predicted. Seventeen people still lost their lives that day. Who knows if the school resource officer would have been the 18th? That is not for me or us to say. I will and cannot judge or criticize his actions as I have never been in a position similar to the one he was thrown into on February 14 of last week. It is solely unfair to him or any of the school resource officers and security personnel across the nation who simply work hard day in and day out to help make our schools better and safer places. But this is unfortunately a prime example of why arming staff in the Schools CAN NOT be the solution.
Countless reports have come out exclaiming the numerous times that the shooter exhibited “warning signs” prior to committing his heinous act. There were various reports from the schools he’s attended, different write ups from doctors, police reports, social media posts, and even threats that all showed signs of him venturing down a path of unspeakable violence. Even the FBI had a warning about him, and they did NOTHING! Doesn’t that anger you? It makes my damn blood boil. They had all the evidence to prevent this massacre from happening but did nothing to stop it. Or they simply did not take it serious enough but regardless, they could have. They should have been better. They need to be better. Everyone needs to be better. Teachers included.
We need to be better at recognizing the early signs of depression in our students, better at greeting and keeping positive relationships with them, better at teaching empathy and compassion in the classroom, better at working together with counselors and support staff when seeing at risk students. All of it needs to be better! Don’t we see that future lives depend on it?! I don’t need to sit around and wait for the next school shooting to happen to understand that this problem will keep continuing if we keep doing what we have always done! When will our nation’s leaders realize that more emphasis needs to be placed on improving our young students’ mental and social health far more than the current emphasis of receiving specific scores on these outdated standardized tests? All of it needs to change. And it starts from the top.
Arm me with a gun?
ARM ME WITH CHANGE.