insprie teacher change  Before I begin, I acknowledge there are caring teachers who need to protect themselves from harm while teaching; I myself was hurt more than once, threatened more than once, and was assaulted once.  I was lucky and wasn’t hurt badly at all, but I recognize there are many teachers who risk their own safety every day.  I also recognize there are teachers who could successfully handle being armed in the classroom.  Not me, however. 

And now…

This topic is so important to me, I’ve written two poems about the concept of making our American schools safer by arming teachers.  One has been published in

A more recent poem is out for consideration right now.

I cannot stop thinking about this–so much could go wrong. I’ve stopped my list at two dozen things that can go wrong with arming teachers!  While I do believe in some very rare circumstances perhaps a teacher could save a life or two, I believe this would be so rare that arming teachers would only make teachers, schools, and students possibly less SAFE.

I have also made a list of the many things my colleagues and I have done to try and make students safer; the list is very long.

Please don’t ask, expect, or rely on teachers to shoot dead.  Teach to kill?  I’m not sure I want to teach with someone able to make split second life and death decisions; I know I would not be able to do so!  I ponder everything, even simple things.

It would change the very nature of teaching and the teacher/ student relationship, which is founded on trust and respect.

When I taught in an urban area, I only half jokingly told my students I would take a bullet for them. I know I always kept my door locked, checked up on students I was worried about, tried to get them the professional services they needed, reported anything that looked dangerous at school, and more.  I do not even want to write down some of the things I did when I was terribly worried about kids–I look back now and wonder what I was thinking.

I wasn’t thinking. I was hoping if I stayed at school long enough, nothing bad could happen to these great kids.  That was magical thinking, as if I, who left each day and headed to my mostly safe suburban patio grading papers could someone change the reality of where they lived.

And they get to you, kids.  They get into your heart in a way I was not prepared for. Losing one?  The thought was terrifying.

So perhaps I would have taken a bullet, but fire one? I don’t know.  I’m such a nervous person no one should want me with a gun.  Hubby has said my most formidable weapon was my relentless caring and fast talking.  Me with a car is dangerous.

Please don’t put this on teachers who tend to enter the field to help others or to pursue and promote their discipline.  We are not trained law enforcement agents nor should we be asked if we have a FOID CARD.  Would that then be an unspoken new plus, being armed?

This HSP (me) could not live with myself if I shot and missed and killed an innocent person. Or if I left a class to pursue an active shooter and my kids got hurt.  Or if I did manage to kill a violent shooter? I would spend the rest of my life pondering the morality of this.  I know I would not pass the psychological evaluation to be a police officer!  I am a pro at teaching and mentoring, and I imagine I am not alone.

Please don’t put this on us!  To quote my own poem, please let us inspire students with other than guns.

We have an arsenal of skills to protect and inspire–please not with guns.