When I think about teachers being asked to carry guns in school, I want to scream the word "no" loud enough for the whole country to hear. Since that is neither physically possible nor an articulate response, I'll instead try to explain why I, and most teachers, find Donald Trump's proposal to arm teachers absolutely insane.
For starters, it's not my job to be strapped with a deadly weapon. When I first became a teacher, my ambitions to help guide and educate young people didn't include squeezing in after-school training sessions for a military-grade weapon, which I would have had to purchase on my own. It's offensive to teachers to expect them to do this, and it's belittling to our armed service men and women who spend years learning how to handle these devices.
Trump offering up a bonus to teachers who bring a gun to campus is beyond cruel, since teachers are notoriously cash-strapped. I'm confident that there will be teachers who take up this policy, not because they think it's right, but because if bringing a gun to school means they don't have to work a second job, they're going to do it.
Instead of needing a cheat sheet to remind himself to tell survivors "I hear you," maybe Trump should actually take his own advice and listen.
For a long time, our politicians have been trying to turn schools into prisons. This mentality is sickening and damaging to our children's youth, because while a gun might be put in place to deter shooters, what it's going to do on a daily basis is scare our children. Part of creating a school culture of acceptance and tolerance is having a community where students and teachers can think freely, share ideas, and challenge each other. When a huge group of the population is armed, it skews the conversation in favor of the one holding the gun.
I've taught in both the richest and poorest districts in my state, and at both locations, I've been cursed at, yelled at, had things thrown at me, and witnessed countless fights. If anyone thinks that a student like Nikolas Cruz wouldn't seize an opportunity to disarm a teacher in the middle of a heated argument, you are sorely mistaken.
And unsurprisingly, there is data to back this up.
In a hospital shooting, there is a one in five chance that the gun will be taken from a guard, and drivers who carry guns are 44 percent more likely to become aggressive. Having guns will not make students or teachers more polite or obedient, and it won't make us any safer.
If an active shooter came into my school, simply having a gun as a teacher means that I am 4.5 times more likely to get shot and 4.2 times more likely to be killed. That is unacceptable. I got my education degrees to teach kids grammar and inspire them to think critically, not to put my life at risk because our Congress is too chicken to stand up to the NRA. It is unacceptable that in a culture of teacher-blaming for all the ills of society, a systemic dismantling of public education, and the stripping away of teachers' rights that our president now wants to add being a literal savior to our burden. It is not our job to solve school shootings, nor is it your right to expect that of us.
Trump and other conservatives who believe that this would solve the problem are missing the point. Teachers, parents, and students aren't asking to ban all guns and dismantle the Second Amendment. All we want is to make weapons designed for mass destruction to be restricted to the military and to have background checks. The thing is, Trump's proposal is doing exactly what he wanted. He knows it will never happen, but it's distracting us from the real issue of common-sense gun reform. While he continues to be a circus leader, trying to blind us with his showmanship, children will continue to die. Maybe instead of needing a cheat sheet to remind himself to tell survivors "I hear you," he should actually take his own advice and listen.