Penn State 1972 – Getting ready to graduate with my teaching degree. Full of idealism and high hopes for working with kids in inner-city classrooms.
Philadelphia, 1987 – Teaching in an area that some refer to as the armpit of the city, I question whether NTA’s (non-teaching assistants) are enough to stop an intruder with a gun from coming through our always-open front doors. Shouldn’t the doors be locked? I worry needlessly, the Administration tells me.
Fast-forward to Columbine 1999 – Now it’s not a question of if, but will it happen again. And they’re not just intruders, they are military-style attackers with automatic weapons.
So now it’s 2018 – Some lawmakers actually want teachers to have guns to shoot the attackers. So it would be teachers with a handgun against individuals with assault rifles. Teachers didn’t sign up for target practice and they aren’t even wearing bullet-proof vests – that may be next.
They are already being asked to somehow bring God back in the classroom, stop cyber-bullying, spot any students who may become dangerous, or have issues at home, and basically to go on crisis mode in an instant. All are non-teaching tasks. College didn’t prepare them to be experts on any of these subjects.
But let’s think about this: Will those lawmakers eventually make it mandatory for ushers in movie theaters, hotel workers, church pastors and people in office cubicles to carry guns? There were shootings in those places too. Soon you too may be required to do the same. Do you want to be made to bring a gun to work every day and hope you don’t have to use it? Neither do teachers – so don’t ask them.
Previously a teacher for 19 years, and now an Educational Sales Rep living in New Jersey, Terry is the author of “The Cabana Stories.”