Teachers With Guns?

A few days ago, our President said he thought it would be good to arm teachers in our schools and give them bonuses if they are willing to do so.  What the?  I asked myself, is he serious?  Is this the thing that could help a school shooting?  Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about this.

To expect our often underpaid and super busy teachers to also carry guns is unbelievable to me.  I wonder if he understands how much they are already doing for our young people. Perhaps this could be part of the discussion, but the entire issue of a shooting is so much more complex.

To me, asking them to also do this is a bit much. That is my opinion and I am curious what others think. On the news this morning, I heard in a rural school district, the administration and students were in favor of it.  And in that district, they are doing it and have a sign at the door that states there are guns on campus.  So apparently this is working in some places.  I do, however, have doubts and concerns.

To me a better option is to have each school have an armed and professional police officer/security officer/school resource office or SRO.  And let’s make sure they are trained to know exactly what to do in the case of an armed intruder. After all the skills, training, education, and expectations are different for a teacher than for a police officer.  Both are jobs that are extremely important to all of us and both pay much less than is fair.

I have teachers in my family, friends who are teachers, and have loved getting to know all of Ian’s teachers.  All of them work hard and do the best for their students.  They spend their own money and they have training throughout the year and in the summer.  They inspire our kids and teenagers. They teach them to read, to write, to complete math problems correctly.  They coach them, they teach them art or music, they teach them science, social studies, critical thinking, foreign languages, computer science, and so much more.

And, do you know how much time they spend doing their jobs?  Not just the 6 or 7 hours they are at school.  No it is so much more.  They still have to grade assignments, papers, make lesson plans, create and grade tests and quizzes, meet with parents, other teachers, the principal and vice principal, meetings with others in the district, attend PTO/PTA meetings after a long day of school, coach a team, lead the drama club, or practice an instrument.

They pay their own money each year since the budgets by and large do not cover enough to do this.  They volunteer for all kinds of projects and things to help their students.  Some also are in school earning Master’s Degrees to enhance their careers.  And they care for their students and show it each day.

The classes often have 20 kids or more and sometimes less.  Each student needs attention, needs to be reached, needs to be taught, and needs to be valued.  It takes time and effort to build up those relationships. It takes time to teach the kids and have them succeed.  Ian’s teachers all are fantastic at this and have helped him learn and have helped him succeed.  I cannot thank them enough for all that they do.

I am happy to be a part of the PTO at Ian’s school.  We are helping our teachers and students and have a great group of parents who know the importance of this work.   We have provided the extras for our students and our teachers. We replaced the 25-year-old audio and video system that the entire school will be using, gave money to all teachers to use during the summer for supplies, and bought books for a study for an entire grade.

Before I started, the PTO purchased new computers for the school’s computer class. There has been a lot more as well.  Many other PTOs and PTAs help with playground equipment, a variety of items for schools, money to help pay for transportation on a field trip, and so much more.  So, there are ways to help our amazing teachers in what they need in order to have a great learning environment for the students.

Back to our police officers and school resource officers, they too are very busy and important parts of a school’s success as well as a community’s success.  They have regular training, are busy building good relationships with our students and parents, they go to the firing range to practice, and they have drills and scenarios to know what to do.

I have respect for them as well and know several people who have worked in various roles in the sheriff’s department or police department, or at the school.  Some officers work with dogs as part of the K-9 units, others are on SWAT teams, others on bomb squads, others do traffic control and stops, others work at jails or prisons, and the list goes on.

My life has been blessed by knowing people who teach young people and by knowing those who protect and defend our young people and our communities.  I have a deep respect for teachers, administrators and assistants as well as police officers,  deputies, detectives, and auxiliary officers. The good ones do an amazing job for all of us!  For them I am thankful.

I wonder how this and so many issues will be resolved.  I also wonder what you think about this.

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Sad Valentine’s Day

I don’t know about you but this has been a tough week for me.  I keep going from tears, to anger to shock and I didn’t even know anyone who was killed at the school shooting on Valentine’s Day.  It was truly a sad end to the day.

Imagine what the people with students there must be feeling.  When I do that, I do start crying since no parent should have to deal with this.  And yet, we have been for years and years and years.

My thoughts and prayers are with these families. I lift them up.  But, I also realize the time has come to do something so this tragedy no longer happens.  I want our students to feel safe at school.

I want to know what we are going to do to make sure this doesn’t happen again.  When are we going to make it that mentally ill people cannot buy guns?  When are we going to reach out and help those in crisis and calling out for help? When are we going to start reporting people who need help and then being sure our concerns are followed up?

When are we going to teach our young people that violence like this is not the way to solve the problems? Sadly, this violence is seen every day on television, in video games, on the Internet, movies, and the list goes on.  Some people may not understand the difference between fiction and these stories and real life.  When real guns fire real bullets at real people, there is death and injury.

I only wish the young man from Wednesday had known this wasn’t the way to solve his problems.  He was angry, had been expelled from his school, had many issues that were posted on social media, and had been reported to the FBI more than once.  Yet, he was able to buy an AR-15 weapon and then take a Uber car to the school and open fire.

As the bullets were flying, the football coach shielded his students and was killed in the process.  Extreme bravery was shown as well as the utmost in disrespect for life. I am sure that the coach wasn’t the only one to do this that day.  So many people — both adults and students — helped each other during that horrible time.

We adults must do better by our children.  We must teach them that all life is precious, that all people should be treated with kindness, and that everyone deserves a friend.  Also, we must teach them to ask questions or say something if they are concerned about a friend or about themselves.

We must teach them that mental illness is something to be treated as any other illness and not to be ashamed of or ridiculed. It is something that must be treated. Did you know that singer Demi Levato is offering free mental heath counseling on her upcoming tour? She is partnering with CAST to make this happen. Isn’t that great?  If only more people would step up and help like this.

It is now time for action.  It is time for us to speak up and help each other.  It is time for us to teach our at-risk young people that help is available and help them get that help.  It is time to not turn our back on those in crisis or needing help.  It is time to change some of those who can buy guns and when.  It is beyond time.  It is time for this to no longer happen.

CNN.com posted the following information this week.  It gave me chills and was a bit shocking. Even one of these deaths is too many, and yet here is the list of students, teachers, and administrators killed at schools.  Heartbreaking.

• 2018 — 17 killed in Florida high school shooting
• 2018 — 2 killed in Kentucky high school shooting
• 2017 — 2 killed in New Mexico high school shooting
• 2017 — 1 killed in Washington high school shooting
• 2017 — 2 killed in CA elementary school shooting
• 2016 — 1 killed in SC elementary school shooting
• 2014 — 4 killed in Washington high school shooting
• 2014 — 1 killed in Oregon high school shooting
• 2013 — 1 killed in Colorado high school shooting
• 2013 — 1 killed in Nevada middle school shooting
• 2012 — 26 killed in Sandy Hook Elementary shooting
• 2012 — 3 killed in Ohio high school shooting
• 2011 — 1 killed in Nebraska high school shooting
• 2010 — 1 killed in Alabama high school shooting
• 2008 — 1 killed in Tennessee high school shooting
• 2006 — 5 killed in Amish schoolhouse shooting
• 2006 — 1 killed in Colorado high school shooting
• 2005 — 1 killed in Tennessee high school shooting
• 2005 — 7 killed in Minnesota high school shooting
• 2003 — 1 killed in Minnesota high school shooting
• 2003 — 1 killed in Pennsylvania high school shooting
• 2001 — 2 killed in California high school shooting
• 2000 — 1 killed in Florida high school shooting
• 1999 — 13 killed in Columbine High School shooting
• 1998 — 2 killed in Oregon high school shooting

Blessings to you and yours.  May we remember to take care of one another.  May we truly give a damn and help each other  May we not think this is just how life is.  May we do better by our children, our young people, and each other.  And may we remember to always, always love.

(clip art from Power Point)

Treason or Free Speech?

Hi and Happy Tuesday!  I become inspired to write about all kinds of quotes and things that I hear on the news, on television, in movies, or songs on the radio or items that I read about.  Today I am writing about a comment that our current President made during an event this week.  What are your thoughts?  Are you as amazed as I was?  And is it really treason?

Treason is defined in Merriam-Webster as “the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign’s family.”

It is not people not clapping or not standing during a speech. Perhaps it could be called disrespectful or rude, but it is not treasonous. Instead those actions are disagreement with a leader and a right of each citizen. I for one was shocked that our current President would say that about elected congressional officials who didn’t agree with his view on things.

It is also not un-American as he also said. In fact, because of the First Amendment, it is as American as you can be. Our country’s founders knew the importance of each citizen having the right and protection to say and believe as they see fit. They also felt that importance for the free press and for our freedom of religion. (Photos are from Power Point clip art.)

What I don’t understand is why more people aren’t up in arms that this is trying to be taken away. There are people who are trying to make it seem like a bad thing with comments of being treasonous, enemies of the people, or the fake media. And I for one am sick and tired of it.

As I have written before, the First Amendment is one of the hardest to honor since it means I have to respect a person who believes 180 degrees differently than I do. But it was written to protect each of us and how we live our life. I was a journalism major and learned to love this amendment and learned to know it must be upheld.

That is not to say that there aren’t problems with the media and biases. I know that. They are biases and slants and mistakes along the entire political spectrum. We just have to wade through them and listen to a variety of points of view. To call something fake just because you don’t agree with it or don’t like it is not right. And frankly needs to stop. Or be called for what it is.

Did you know that members of Congress didn’t clap or stand during the previous President’s state of the union either? It’s true. I watched the clip on the news. In fact, clips of both Presidents were played and looked the same – just with different people sitting down. The opposition was disagreeing with the leader as they had every right to do.

So my question is, why was it okay before but isn’t now? What has changed to make this the case? And, if we truly believe that, what is the justification?  Why one side but not both? Is that fair?  I don’t understand and am trying to understand. Does anyone have any ideas or theories on that?

Governing our country is messy, is hard, and is full of contradictory opinions. It is not a place where you can tell everyone how to think, how to respect you, and what to do when you are speaking. It just doesn’t work that way and it never has.

Our founding fathers had many disagreements and arguments, but made compromises to start this amazing country and provide us with the freedoms that we hold so dear. Then during President Reagan’s term, the Congress and House Speaker Tip O’Neill strongly disagreed with him and made those feelings known. Both sides argued a lot and disagreed but still managed to find ways to work together for the good of the entire country.

What did they know that we no longer know? Have we become so divided that we can no longer see or believe that the other side has merit, has some good ideas, and  value? Is it truly all one party’s fault who is currently in the minority? The majority party has no part of it? I just don’t get it. Both sides have to find a way to work together if things are ever going to improve.

I want us to argue for what we are in favor of without tearing those down who don’t agree with us. I want us to stop calling our opposition enemies of the people, or stupid, or other derogatory terms. I want us to be examples for our children that we can have healthy debates and disagreements without venom or hate seeping into our thoughts and words.

At my son’s school, they are learning about the three branches of government, the Amendments to the Constitution, and what they think is most important. The branches are separate and equal, neither one has more power over the other, and all serve vitally important parts of our country’s success or failure.

The students were asked which is the most important amendment to them. Our son said the First Amendment. In his answer, he explained that in some countries, if you spoke out against the President, you would be arrested. In America, if you speak out, that won’t happen.

This 10-year-old understands that more than some adults.  He is learning respect but that he doesn’t have to agree with someone just because they give an opinion on something. He is learning to find his way and what he believes with our guidance and support.

My husband and I are teaching our son to listen, to discern, to ask questions, and to try to determine what is a fact and what is an opinion. He and his classmates have been learning about that as well. And, they have been writing opinion pieces to learn how to present their argument.

Facts do exist and were a part of articles that I wrote as a reporter. We would include the who, what, when, where, and why. Sometimes we also included how, but these articles were clearly different than the opinion pieces or editorials.  Today there is a blurring of that.  I only hope that we can do research to determine which is which.

What are your thoughts on this topic?  Does it matter to you?  It certainly does to me, as you can tell from writings such as this. I will continue to stand up for what I feel is important and what I believe in.  And I will do it with respect for others who I disagree with. I hope that you will as well.