So, I am taking a little break from the running-centric-positivity that typically is my blog to put my two cents in about a truly ridiculous response to the most recent school shooting.
Now, I’m not going to lie; I’m a bit of a liberal. But I am also an intelligent human who understands that there are plenty of people in this world who truly enjoy hunting and target practice and I mean, I enjoy running 20+ miles at a time so who and I to judge other people’s weird hobbies? But what happened in Parkland, Las Vegas, Newtown, and too many other communities isn’t the result of a hobby gone off the rails. It’s a result of a society where misinformation and fear and has become our motivating factors.
This week I have seen more and more media about how school personnel should be armed in order to stop school shootings. Evidentially there are districts where this is ACTUALLY HAPPENING, which is terrifying to me for so, so many reasons.
I work tirelessly to help my students learn to regulate their behaviors- and hormones- on a daily basis. It’s a scientific fact that all adolescents struggle with impulsivity. In this way, growing up is a trial and error process; kids need to make mistakes to learn, and they need a safe space to do so. I’ll admit that sometimes my student’s mistakes can be pretty tough to control from an educational perspective; students get upset, they shout, they push chairs over, and they might even get into a fight with a peer. But eventually they learn coping skills, and problem solving skills, and they learn how to work through moments of conflict without anyone getting hurt. Through these mistakes, made within a safe and supportive environment, students learn essential life skills that I consider more important than geometry, or literature, or history.
So not only could putting guns into schools result in a dangerous situation where unnecessary force could be used in one of these rough- but ultimately typical- childhood moments; we’d actually be taking away our student’s ability to practice extremely important life skills. If students are scared that they might get shot if they make a mistake, then they are not learning how to actually control themselves. Fear should never be the motivation behind good behavior. What kind of people would we be sending off into the world if the only thing keeping them put together is fear of bodily harm?
Along the same lines, I am CONSTANTLY talking to my students about the concept that violence never solves a problem. Not really, and not completely. I’d be setting an awful example if I brought a weapon into my classroom.
And, finally… how is that plan even realistic? I have never even touched a gun, and I can’t even get my school district to pay for a 18-pack of mechanical pencils. There’s no way they’re going to pay for me to get trained and armed, and I surely wouldn’t waste my time and money doing something like that myself. Also, have any of you seen the way modern schools are built these days? Most schools are comprised of 3+ buildings, and many play host to over 2000 educators and students each day. Practically speaking, throwing a few armed staff members over these expansive campuses is completely useless.
As I’ve discussed before, I’ve been directly impacted by senseless gun violence in the past. But it shouldn’t take a direct impact for people to understand why we need some common sense gun laws in this country. We shouldn’t be sprinkling handguns around schools just like we shouldn’t be allowing teenagers to play with military-grade assault rifles. And we certainly cannot keep putting the privilege of a few over the basic wellbeing of literally everyone else.