Monday, September 17, 2007

Teachers with Guns

Bad Idea. We're not exactly a low-stress occupation. Here in Oregon we're having a HUGE discussion about this right now. A teacher in Medford, a southern town down near the California border, wants the right to carry a concealed weapon with her as she teaches school. Oregon does have a concealed weapon right, but the school district opposes it. So the teacher is taking the school district to court. Her argument is that she has a scary ex-husband who violates restraining orders and of whom she is terribly afraid. Even for her life. So she wants to have her gun while she teaches sixth grade.

Well, in yesterday's paper, this teacher (still anonymous) wrote her own commentary to tell her side of the story. The Oregonian notes that all her legal expenses are being paid in full by the NRA.

I'm the Medford school teacher you've heard about. The one who will ask an Oregon judge on Tuesday to affirm my right to carry a Glock pistol to my school so I can protect myself from a man who's hit me and threatened to kill me: my ex-husband.
Children entering a classroom as students are just as important as the teacher's own. But, far beyond any wealth of knowledge that they might receive from an instructor, the greatest gift is assurance that their school is a safe place in which to learn. At the same time, this case allows them to see the importance of knowing our rights and helps them see that if left undefended, such rights may be lost forever.

It is woefully irresponsible to deny the possible risk of violence in public schools. It is shameful to attempt to victimize those who would seek to defend children in our schools, ridiculously inciting fear over teachers' mental competency or proficiency in handling a firearm. More importantly, it is abhorrent that any district would be so hypocritical to insist students receive instruction on the importance of individual rights only to trample the rights of their teachers whenever it sees to do so.

I encourage you to demand that the Medford School District obey state law and abandon its current policy that bans me from carrying a tool I need to protect myself, my students and my co-workers.

So her argument is that if we're going to teach kids about personal rights we should then demonstrate those rights by allowing loaded Glocks into the classroom?


As you may suppose, I have a HUGE problem with this. This woman sounds like she's operating on a basis of tremendous fear of and anger towards this ex-husband, which to me is the worst possible combination of emotions when carrying a weapon. So what is she going to do if the guy walks into her classroom? Draw on him in front of the kids? And where is she going to conceal this weapon? In her purse? Where will her purse be? On her body? What if she wears a holster under a jacket and it gets hot, then does she teach with a loaded weapon showing on her hip? What happens when that big kid gets pushy and lunges for the gun? What happens when.... You get my drift.

I feel sad that this woman feels so hunted by her ex, but I cannot think of one good outcome of allowing concealed weapons in a classroom. In fact, isn't the classroom one of the safest places she could be? I am concerned also that she believes she is teaching young children the value of personal rights by introducing the potential for horrible violence in their lives - even the worst symbol of violence. Is she daft? I don't buy any of her arguments, and this crap about how the VA Tech shooter would have been stopped if all those kids and professors had been packing is what it is: crap.

The right to own a gun is firmly entrenched in our society. But does that mean that we must encourage the use of guns? I don't know if I could teach in a school where I knew teachers had concealed weapons on them. I couldn't bear to be a part of the consequences of one wrong moment.

Teachers with Guns? No thank you.

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