Education, Politics, Social Justice

We Are Not Soldiers

This week I was told that in an active shooter situation, I should get my students to safety, barricade my doors and then stand to the side of the door so that I could engage and possibly disarm an active shooter. It wasn’t bad advice, and I trust the source of the advice. I agree it’s better to be proactive than to be a sitting duck. The problem is this:

There are two doors.

And I am left wondering: Which one do I choose?

I am a media specialist, a book lover, a teacher, a person who loves kids and believes in education. Through their politicization of education, their ineptitude, and their greed, the powers that be have made me into many things I am not.

I am not a social worker; yet I will feed a hungry student, donate clothing to a homeless one, provide comfort to a grieving child, and counsel a lost soul.

I am not a referee; yet I get drawn into the battles of adolescence. Girl drama, boy drama. Tears and tempers. And somehow I am expected to neither cry nor scream when these children say and do horrible things to each other’s self esteem, many snickering along the way.

I am not a data scientist; yet I am forced to consider the most mundane and harmful of measures by which to judge a student’s abilities.

I am not a police officer; yet I educate my students about criminal activity that they might be committing on their cell phones and iPads, unbeknownst to them all of the real crimes and outdated laws that could get them arrested.

I am not a politician; yet I spin communication like a pro, using the most positive language possible to avoid offending a parent, child, or colleague.

I am not a tactician; yet each day I find myself in a different situation, planning strategy that stems from the invasive thought: What would I do if a shooter entered the building right now?

I accept that as a teacher, I might be forced into a position to defend my students. To protect them even at the risk of leaving my own children motherless.

And I am not a soldier. Yet somehow, I am being told to barricade doors, get students to safety, and be prepared to disarm an active shooter should he enter my space. I am told that I should conform to become a “good guy with a gun.” I am told to entertain the thought of bearing arms at a school. I will never be this person.

Because why? Because we can’t pass sensible gun control laws? Because we can’t agree that our founding fathers could not have imagined technology that would bring mini weapons of mass destruction into our daily lives? Because despite every fact we have that tells us that sensible gun control laws work, we are just so bent on enriching politicians and a corrupt nonprofit organization with better connections than the entirety of our nation’s public schools?

This idea, this whole idea that I have to think about this on a daily basis, is beyond comprehension. That my students have to come to what should be the safest place in their day, home not excepted in many cases, and worry that today might be the day that the drill might not be a drill is a worry that no child should have.

That is why I marched. Enough is enough.


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