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Packing Heat in Classrooms

April 12, 2018

As noted in earlier posts, I am on a vacation away from the internet and so I am re-publishing some posts on “guns in school” from years past… in part to keep the webpage “alive” in my absence, but, as is true in this case, to illustrate ideas that made sense— or in this case DIDN’T make sense in 2013 are still not sensible today. Posts on this topic will continue through April 20 when the marches marking the anniversary of Columbine are scheduled. 

The NYTimes ran a story a few days ago about a school district in Missouri where several of their teachers are now authorized to carry concealed weapons in schools. This action was the Fairview (MO) School board’s response to Sandy Hook and was explained based on the cultural norms of the community:

By the time they are 6, many young boys and girls already have learned how to safely handle a weapon and have shot their first deer. Some live in homes where guns are not under lock and key, or on vast prairies where they shoot skeet with their families.

In the early 1970s I taught at a Junior High School in Philadelphia where gang violence was rife and many in the community owned guns that were “…not under lock  and key” and by the time they were 6 many young boys had learned how to safely handle a weapon… though the targets they were often shooting at were other gang members. I can safely say that during my two years in that junior high school at no time did anyone think arming the teachers would be a good idea.

I was not surprised to read that the Senate rejected the proposals to limit the availability of guns or to institute background checks. In the first post following Sandy Hook I predicted that nothing would pass in the Congress and school districts would end up bearing the brunt of costs and, in all probability, would be mandated to institute some kind of emergency plans. This paragraph from the same article bears out this prediction:

As federal and state legislators continue to debate gun control and school safety measures in the months after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., communities around the country are wasting little time taking safety issues into their own hands. Some schools have hired armed guards. Others have implemented buzzer systems at their doors.

I’ve written it before and I’ll write it again: we are raising our children in an environment of fear and willingly trading their freedom for our security. When armed guards and buzzer systems stand at the door of the first public institution children are exposed to what kind of world are we conditioning them for? And if the people providing care for them carry weapons, what kind of world is THAT? I’m glad I had a chance to roam in the woods, play sandlot baseball and playground basketball, and attend a school with no guards, no buzzers, no cameras, and unlocked doors.

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