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Opinion: ‘Teachers Are Not Soldiers’

Opinion: ‘Teachers Are Not Soldiers’

“Whatever one’s stance on gun laws, nobody goes into education to see combat. Teachers are not soldiers,” says veteran educator Lara N. Dotson-Renta in a post for The Atlantic.

Dotson-Renta describes how as she was beginning her journey to becoming a teacher-she had to think about something she never wanted to- that there was a reality in school shootings after the Columbine shootings and the Virginia Tech massacre shook the nation.

As school shootings become more and more frequent, she provides a haunting perspective on the thought process behind trying to be prepared for the worst.

“Despite being just 5 or 6 years older than my students, I felt responsible for them, protective, aware of the incredible weight carried by teachers. I also recognized the probability that, should an intruder walk into the classroom, these students would quickly and inevitably look over to me for what to do. And chances are, I wouldn’t have any answers,” she said.

“I feel helpless, as both an educator and a parent. The fabric and tenor of education has changed, because the people we are supposed to protect and teach are also those we must, in part, fear.”

But regardless of her concern over safety, she doesn’t agree that teachers should be equipped with guns as the answer to a need for safety and protection.

Though she acknowledges that many states are proposing legislation that would arm teachers, she argues that such a thing would force tactical training to be a part of a teacher’s job description.

Instead, she support the move of “18 prominent educational research centers to jointly sign a call for serious inquiry into gun violence in educational settings, imploring ‘foundations, federal and state governments, and entities on all sides of gun violence debates to sponsor research projects that expand knowledge in the field about important topics’ related to school shootings.”

She hopes that such research can surpass the immediate fervor in the weeks following school shootings to make a lasting impression that investing in school safety is a priority.

“Teachers see and participate in the requisite vigils and social media prayers, they clamor for more mental health resources, while some call into question a culture in which violence, rage, and masculinity intertwine. And then, when the cycle is through … silence. Until the next time.”

Read her full post here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

10/23/2015

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