I’m a teacher. I’m not going to carry a gun to school.
I am not going to kill someone. Period.
President Donald Trump recently tweeted that a gun-free school is “a magnet for bad people.” His solution: arming gun-adept teachers so they can shoot it out with the bad guys. I could not disagree more.
As a teacher for more than 16 years in Brooklyn, New York, I certainly hope this is not the response we take to the recent attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Those kids and faculty deserve more.
First off, teachers are educators, not cops. There is no correlation between helping and nurturing young people and possibly getting into gun fights either with them or on their behalf. It is simply not in our DNA. That is not why we became teachers.
Moreover, increasing the number of weapons is the antithesis of the solution. More stringent gun laws and monitoring is needed.
You want to add a metal detector to every school? Go ahead. You want to add armed guards and increased security? Be my guest. Make these institutions the safest places on the planet, but don’t expect someone with a masters in literature to be able to take down a shooter. What would happen if their aim wasn’t true?
We have witnessed numerous trained officers kill minorities over and over again by misconstruing their motives. Imagine if a teacher thought a child was taking out a weapon and it really was a toy? The possibilities for harm and injustice are innumerable. How can our students trust us if they know at any time we have the power of guns at our disposals?
There have been several other school shootings this year alone and we need to work together to make them stop. I believe a drastic change is necessary.
But instead of focusing our finances and training on weapons of mass destruction, why not use the money to hire more mental health professionals in our schools? We could also do a better job monitoring social media in search of kids who post about death and shooting of any kind. Maybe we could identify people who pose a threat and not allow them to purchase guns.
In a world where children are dying senselessly, there is little I am sure of anymore, but this I can say with absolute certitude: We don’t need more guns in schools, especially not in the hands of teachers. We need changes in policies now. We need to protect our children now. Let’s make school shootings part of our history and not our future.
Elana Rabinowitz is a middle-school teacher and a freelance writer in Brooklyn, N.Y.. This column was written for the Progressive Media Project, affiliated with The Progressive magazine, and distributed by Tribune News Service.