Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Letter I Won't Send

Representative Mark McCullough and Senator Ralph Shortey, in response to the horrific school shooting in Newtown, are set to propose a bill the the Oklahoma Legislature allowing teachers and administrators to carry guns in school. What I've written here is the letter I WON'T send to them. I've a more measured response I will send, but this is what bubbled up first.

Seriously?? Seriously? Have you just gone around the bend? Are you nuts?? Do you really think this is the Wild West? Have I gone to sleep and awakened in Crazy Town? Merciful Heavens. You really want teachers to carry guns? In school?

You really think the solution to crazed, military rifle-wielding murderers is arming teachers? Let’s see…teachers are responsible for teaching…for generating mountains of data on testing. We’re responsible for students’ test scores. We’ll be fired if test scores don’t increase. We’re expected to align all our lessons to PASS now, while revising them to align with Common Core. We’re supposed to get kids ready for tests that haven’t even been written yet. We’re supposed to do all that, grade, plan, contact parents. 

We’re to continue our own education--at our own expense, buy snacks for our students, provide our own supplies and computer ink. We’re supposed to learn all the new technology in our classrooms, use it, and supervise our students’ use. We’re supposed to create learning climates that respect every child and maximize his or her learning. We’re supposed to be available for after-school meeting and before school meetings. We’re expected to differentiate for every child while simultaneously leading whole class lessons using books that are at or above grade level. 

Teaching is already full to the brim with stress and anxiety…and you want to put a gun in every classroom? Classrooms that contain stressed teachers and stressed students?

We’re supposed to do all that, and tote a gun?

Will I be evaluated on my marksmanship? Will that be part of my value-added measure? “Totes a gun and ain’t afraid to use it?” Will that be a line in my evaluation? Seriously?

Exactly how do you think guns will improve the climate of a school? Do you think third graders, already ‘under the gun’ to read proficiently or be flunked, will smile benignly at the gun at their teacher’s back? Do you think this will, as some have cynically suggested, help with classroom management?

If I had wanted to carry a gun to work and participate in gunfights, I would not have trained to be a teacher. I’d’ve gone into the military…where even trained soldiers often don’t take a kill shot, and too often kill their own troops in friendly fire.

You don’t trust me to be accountable in my classroom. You think because I belong to the OEA I’m a union thug. You choose to pay me far less than other comparably educated professionals. You take away my rights of due-process. You require more and more. You support me less and less. And now you want me to jump at the chance to play gunslinger? 


Pray, tell. Who’s going to pay for the gun training? The weapon? The ammunition? Who’s going to pay for the lock box to keep the weapon away from my students? Who’s going to pay the astronomically high liability insurance? If past experience is any indication, I do believe you will expect ME to pay. 

Again, I ask, ARE YOU NUTS?


  1. Well written, and I don't see why you shouldn't send it. Sure, also send something reasonable, but this? Gold.

  2. LOL...this one was just to vent so I could sound like a grown-up. Thanks. It WAS fun to write, and is probably closer to my true feelings.