I was recently asked if given the opportunity, would I have a gun in my classroom. My response “ absolutely no. Never. “. My real response in my head harkens back to my favorite episode of M.A.S.H.and Hawkeye’s own response to carrying a gun —
Hawkeye: I’ll carry your books, I’ll carry a torch, I’ll carry a tune, I’ll carry on, carry over, carry forward, Cary Grant, cash-and-carry, carry me back to Old Virginie, I’ll even ‘hari-kari’ if you show me how, but I will not carry a gun.
This topic has come to the forefront obviously and people may have good Intentions of protection for we teachers and our students. There are better ways. First of all- we need to recognize that mental health and bullying are real issues and these students need our help. They are not rabid dogs needing to be put down. I get attached to all of my students. Not just the little angels, but those little deceptive ones with walls of steel built up to guard their broken hearts. Those are the ones who keep me up at night trying to think of how to reach them. I know I can’t save them all, but I believe kindness and love is needed before it’s too late. I am their teacher. One of my jobs is to provide a safe environment for my students. That goes both ways. Hurting children need to have at least one adult in their life they can trust and feel safe around too. They need an adult in their life who isn’t afraid to set boundaries and say “No”.
Am I saying in a naive way that love is all these children need and if we love these truly disturbed children more they would not have gone off the rails? I don’t know. Every situation is different. I just know that I couldn’t shoot a student because most likely I’ll know who they are. I’d feel like the boy in Old Yeller. Now don’t get me wrong- I’d do whatever possible to protect my other 99 from the 1. I just find it’s a heartbreaking reality to put on my lesson plan “students will be able to quickly and quietly stack furniture in front of the door”.
So please don’t ask me to carry a gun. That should not be part of a teachers’ “other duties as assigned” requirements. I’ve attended funerals of students killed at their own hand. I do not want to have a death be by my hand. Again I want all of my students to be safe. Let someone else more qualified carry that burden and carry the gun.