by Mary Cathryn Ricker
So I guess the NRA says the answer to stop school shootings is more guns, joining the smattering of elected officials who recently have promoted the idea of arming teachers and principals. This approach is wrong.
If a place like Ft. Hood, TX which has some of our planet’s most deadly weapons carried by some of our planet’s most deadly professional soldiers, can be reduced to carnage by a single armed assassin, then what makes The NRA think that arming a nation of just-right-book loving, denim jumper wearing, wooden apple bead necklace creating, white board marker toting school teachers (and the rest of us) will be effective?
You want to arm me? Good. Then arm me with a school psychologist at my school who has time to do more than test and sit in meetings about testing.
Arm me with enough counselors so we can build skills to prevent violence, have meaningful discussions with students about their future and not merely frantically adjust student schedules like a Jenga game.
Arm me with social workers who can thoughtfully attend to a student’s and her family’s needs so I. Can. Teach.
Arm me with enough school nurses so that they are accessible to every child and can work as a team with me rather than operate their offices as de facto urgent care centers.
Arm me with more days on the calendar for teaching and learning and fewer days for standardized testing.
Arm me with class sizes that allow my colleagues and me to know both our students and their families well.
Arm my colleagues and me with the time it takes to improve together and the time it takes to give great feedback to students about their work and progress.
Until you arm me to the hilt with what it will take to meet the needs of an increasingly vulnerable student population, I respectfully request you keep your opinions on schools and our safety to yourself NRA. Knock it off.
Mary Cathryn Ricker is the St.Paul Teachers Union President, and was an English and History teacher. This piece was featured on the MoveOn.org Facebook page. To read Mary Cathryn Ricker’s personal blog, Notes from MC, click here.