School Safety: Licensed to Teach

by Mary Cathryn Ricker

Crossposted from her Notes from MC blog

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 Facebook page.  To read Mary Cathryn Ricker’s personal blog, Notes from MC, click here.

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Comments (3)

  1. Thanks for sharing this here.

    I find it interesting how so many people who have no training in education or school administration have so many simple solutions to offer.

    Well said and I hope your message is heard where it counts.

  2. I agree . What needs to be accomplished is more social interaction, more play time, more physical education, more appreciation for the fine arts and less TV, video games and interaction with seemingly endless violence. Why can’t our students speak with each other ?
    They are constantly arguing and yelling at each other, where are the social skills, where are the parents?

  3. Michael O'S

    Mrs. Ricker, I want to thank you for saying what I have been saying for a long time now….. Thank you ! Thank you!! Thank you!!!

    Everyone, please “tweet” this post, put it on “Facebook” and “Google+”, send it to every elected official (even though they won’t understand it) . Mrs. Ricker is absolutely correct.

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