Thursday, December 20, 2012

Some Thoughts...

After the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the community of elementary school teachers was shaken up across the country. It was interesting, because no one asked "Would I have died for my kids?"  We didn't need to, because all of us knew that of course we would. 

I was student teaching when the shootings at Columbine occurred. I remember my sadness and sudden knowledge that this job was going to be different from what previous teachers had experienced.

Because that's what we do. We teach, and love, and hug, and adore these kids. And pray constantly that the world will be kind just a little longer. That all those bad experiences will stay away for just one more day: the bullies, the bad grades, the bad friends, the bad school lunches. Everything, big and small. We wish them happy recesses full of friends and games. Math they understand. Pizza for lunch everyday. Of course we know this can't happen. But we dream. And then try to teach them to cope with the ugly parts of the world. 

And now every teacher also prays that the bad guys will stay out and the locks will hold. 

Many people have expressed similar concerns followed by the statement "wouldn't you feel safer if you had a gun in your room?"


I recently had a student with oppositional defiant disorder. They had threatened their parents with weapons. It was all I could do that year to keep that child calm. They stole from my desk and went through my closets daily. The last thing I would have wanted in my classroom is a gun. 

I'm not against people owning guns. But think about this. You as a parent have put safety measures in place so that your children aren't harmed: gun locks, gun safes, separate storage for ammunition. You have probably even educated your children on your gun rules. How can you trust something that important to a stranger like me?  We're not talking about multiplication tables. These are life and death rules. The minute a gun is at school with a teacher there needs to be ground rules. Do you trust they will be the same as yours? Better even?  I work in public education. I don't. 

I don't want a gun in my class. I want pencils and crayons and glue and math books. I want music. I want hugs and hand drawn pictures. I will protect my students. From every little hurt that I can. But I won't be keeping a gun in class. 


Erin said...

Wow! Great blog post! I'm sharing.

Anna Buttimore said...

Thank you for being the voice of reason. There is no way I would send my children to school knowing that the teachers had guns.

Lindsey Montague said...

Christina I love this.

Jason said...

I'm all for firearms in the hands of school faculty willing to take on the added responsibility of being an active defense and protecting students in the precious first minutes of an active shooter event.

First and foremost, a firearm is to be on your person at all times; not locked in a cabinet, a drawer, or in your purse. You'd be a fool to not have your firearm on you, as that is the safest place for it to reside; in a holster and under your control.

Jason said...

Anna, do you have any idea of Utah's laws surrounding concealed carry and schools?

Perfectly legal for UT Concealed Firearm Permit holders to be on/in/around school property, teachers and faculty included. Can you site an instance where one of those hundreds of firearms on school premises on a daily basis, has gone off unexpectedly, been stolen by a student, or jumped out of its holster and caused mayhem?

Teachers, EDUCATE yourself a little before responding with emotion. Shame on you for not reading up on what is legal/prohibited in Utah's law books. It's offensive to all law abiding citizens who choose to conceal carry, and do it so well that you seem to think that nobody does in your school.

I'm happy to answer any question you ladies might have.

christina pettit said...

Thank you for your thoughtful comments. This tragedy has hit us all hard no matter what your position is. In the end we all agree that our children should be safe from the bad guys for as long as we're able to keep them there.

christina pettit said...

Jason, every teacher on my faculty at least, is aware of the concealed weapons laws in Utah. One even has a permit. But when I took a very unscientific poll (at lunch eating Christmas coffee cake) everyone agreed they would be uncomfortable with a gun at school, even in a holster. I found this interesting because we have military wives and mothers there and three male teachers. I think it's in the psychology of the teacher. You want all bad things to stay away from these precious children. And even though a gun is only bad if used by the wrong person, I am not adequately trained, nor do I think I could shoot another human being. Teachers in general have a soft gooey center. I did appreciate seeing a district officer in the campus all week, armed. Maybe that's the way to go?