I’m happy to share with you a perspective from someone I truly respect. Today we hear from Victoria Lozano, a college professor and someone active in political and human rights issues.
Ms. Lozano wrote this piece in support of Mal Hyman, a Democratic candidate for the SC 7th congressional district. More importantly, she touches on an important issue in the news today – teachers carrying guns.
By Victoria Lozano
There is no single right answer to solve the gun issue in this area, state, or country. It will be a multi-strategic plan. We know common sense gun control is not synonymous with taking ALL the guns because that would be unconstitutional, so that argument is void. Bump stocks and semi-automatics are excessive and unnecessary for civilians. And as a teacher I’ve learned that by listening we can learn a lot. I’ve learned that our politicians have been listening hard core to the NRA for a number of years and not their constituents. We need more people like Mal Hyman in office, who is taking time to listen to us right now when we say that guns have no room in the classroom.
If we listen to teachers, we see that they have been screaming for solutions when they ask for funding for school structure, text books, technology, counselors, support for teachers, more teaching positions to reduce amount of students in the classroom, and programs for students to enrich their relationships with each other and to keep them occupied. But instead, we see more cuts in our funding for things like after school programs and a push for test scores that do NOTHING for student enrichment or intelligence.
So when teachers hear their politicians say “hey let’s arm teachers” we really hear “let’s pay for guns, locks in the classroom, training, and re-training because we have the money for that, but not for the list of all those things you have been requesting . Oh, and the tax payers will foot the bill.”
It sounds like we are turning our places of education into mini-prisons with learning opportunities.
Talk to any experienced teacher and ask them if it is really possible to handle a class of 20+ and then pull a gun out because we think there is a school shooter. Parents who believe teacher’s should have guns are falling for a false sense of security. Have you ever gone to your child’s lunch time? Have you seen all the kids run on the playground? Do you think any experienced gun owner can see through a sea of children and shoot the right person?
Google what veterans think about guns in school. Even those who are trained in our military think this is a bad idea. Ask any parent of color if they want their child of color to sit in a classroom where their teachers are armed? Yet what legislation do we have on record? Asking “some” teachers to be armed. Who are our politicians listening to?
As a professor at a university where students not only send me emotionally heightened emails, I’ve had students stare me down in my office. I’ve asked colleagues to sit in my office while predominantly white male students berate me over a grade because they are paying to be in class and expect to get a better grade because of it. When I walk into my classroom, I think constantly about what I will do if this student has a gun on them. By arming me you are setting up a threat to others, and I don’t feel like playing duel with my life or theirs.
Teachers aren’t ignorant to threats. We get them all the time. If not from students then parents. Good and bad teachers alike. We know what is at stake and we know the severity of the situation, so please listen and trust us when we say, no guns in the classroom, please. The schools are not like when you were young. Schools are different, students are different.
Instead of paying for guns and training, how about we fund the schools with real resources.
Victoria Lozano is a professor at Coastal Carolina University. You can find her on Twitter, where she is sure to entertain you, @letlooksylook.