Saturday, August 16, 2008

Annie, Get Your Gun!

Today a friend of mine from another part of the country asked about an article she had read concerning the Harrold District and the decision to allow teachers to carry guns. She thought that it might just be a mentality caused by the Texas love affair with guns. Nope. It is more likely the feeling that the teachers should be at least as well armed as the students!

That is pretty sad. But this has been a problem now for years. I haven’t done any sub work in umpteen years, but one of the first times I visited one of our city’s high schools, the call came in late and I quickly dressed and went to the school. The principal took one look and exclaimed, “They sent a WOMAN! And dressed like THAT!” I had no idea what class I was to teach, but I knew there was nothing wrong with my dress, shoes, hair, etc. Why it worried him that I was a woman was beyond me. THEN he handed me a two-way radio with the instructions that if I got into trouble, I should push the red button and the police officer would be there right away. I was beginning to REALLY get worried. It turned out to be a class of young men who were supposed to be separate from the rest of the students because of their “lack of social skills.” Translate that to “they are a danger to themselves and others.”

I was supposed to teach sex education to these kids. HA! I took one look and changed the lesson plan. Those guys knew more than I would ever want to know. I teach English, so I talked to them about writing things in a descriptive manner. I asked them to describe for me their very worst day or night. EVERY one of them wanted to do that assignment! Yes, I had to spell some of the simplest words for them, but each paper was definitely descriptive. I read them aloud so that the papers were anonymous. And they were each as pleased as if they had won a prize. Someone was paying attention to something that THEY had to say.

That was MY introduction to some of the problems our teachers were facing. While I was there, two of the young men decided to get in a word spat and looked like a couple of young roosters all bowed up in the neck. About that time, the aide who was supposed to be with the class came in and chewed them both up one side and down the other. Even I would not have wanted to mess with this woman. And she was maybe five foot tall!

Our daughter went to another of the high schools in our city and that school had a police officer roaming its halls as well. Eventually they had metal detectors at the front doors, and they had drug dogs walking the halls.

At one of the junior highs in another part of the city, I was supposed to teach an art class. Two girls, one Mexican and the other Black, got in a knife fight in the middle of my class. One of the students ran for help and about four teachers and the principal got there in time to keep anyone from getting killed. I was sent to a reading class while the police took statements. The principal told me that I didn’t see anything. Sad to say, I really didn’t even know who was who, much less what was going on, until the girls were already armed and at it, so what the principal said was essentially true.

Now, as to arming our teachers with guns—I don’t THINK so! From personal experience I can say we have teachers who have no common sense, bad tempers, lack of respect for students, and are just bullies with a teaching certificate. Give the PRINCIPAL the right to carry a bat maybe, and get the parents to allow “licks” for punishment. But, no, we don’t need any kids slaughtered in the schools by adults who actually need anger management classes. And frankly, the same goes for tasers. Some idiot killed a man who was already in handcuffs in the back of a patrol car by tasing him NINE times. That kind of treatment is reminiscent of the Gestapo.

Honestly, if my children were in a school where guns were carried by the teachers, my children would be at home in a heartbeat. Homeschooling is definitely better than a funeral.

I told my friend about some of the situations where we have wetbacks coming in and getting into fights with other Mexicans who already live here. Both groups have problems getting along with the Blacks, but this type of problem has been around forever. In some places in Arkansas there are entire villages of Mexicans imported by the big poultry producers. Those people have difficulty assimilating into the society there, but the other racial problems they have include difficulties with the Hmong tribes (Asians similar to the Chinese) and even the American Indians who feel that they shouldn’t have to deal with either of these races.

As a young person, I carried a gun, but I did so to keep my parents from worrying about my safety. They knew I could shoot straight and accurately, but I have no idea if I could have pointed a gun at another human being. Frankly, I don’t want to ever have to do that. I certainly don’t want to wear a gun in the classroom. Like my friend said, “Why can’t we all just get along?”

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