A Conversation About School Violence

20130110-125219.jpgIn recent days the politicians have been calling for a “conversation” on school violence and gun control. Apart from the fact that a one-sided lecture isn’t the same as a conversation, I personally find it a little odd that the people most affected by the issue of school violence and mass killings in schools don’t have a voice in the conversation.

So, I decided to have a conversation about school violence with my nearest subject matter expert. I’ve talked before about my daughter, “Nutmeg”, but for the newcomers, she’s seventeen years old and attends a special school program that provides her extra supports with emotional and behavioral challenges caused by past trauma in her birth family. (Before you start screaming about her privacy, she read this post before I made it and doesn’t object to what I’ve said here.)

We talked while out running errands today, and the conversation went something like this – I’ve tried to reproduce the flavor of how she talks as faithfully as I can:

Tammy: So, what do you think about this idea of teachers carrying guns at school?

Nutmeg: Well, I know I would feel more safer if my teacher had a gun and could protect me, that’s for sure!

T: Do you think teachers NEED guns? Do you think a shooting could happen here, where we live?

N: There are lots of crazy kids at my school who do crazy stuff, that’s for sure! Also, we have lots of gangs and kids making bad choices.

T: Is that why you think kids do stuff like shooting up schools?

N: I dunno. I think they don’t think about the consequences of their choices. You taught me about that.

T: Some people are worried that if a teacher had a gun, some kids could grab it and shoot people.

N: Well, yeah, some of my friends, that could happen if they got mad. The teacher should have one of those holsters with the lock on it (ie, a retention holster, but Nutmeg doesn’t know that term) so nobody can take their gun.

T: Some people say teachers might get mad and shoot somebody.

N: (snorting) They’re stupids.

T: What about the idea of having cops at the school to keep the students safe? What about the Sheriff that’s at your school?

N: It’s good that he’s there, but what if he’s in the office and something happens in my classroom and he has to go all the way to the other side of the school? That’s far! (Nutmeg’s school is an open multi-building campus, so it could take the officer several minutes to reach her classroom)

T: I’ve heard people say that we shouldn’t have guns in school because kids should be able to go to school in a safe place and not need guns. What do you think?

N: Well, that’s true, I guess. But like you taught me, it’s better to be honest than to lie to anybody, even yourself. And there ARE crazy people out there.

T: What about people who say that giving teachers guns is too expensive?

N: Things are expensive, and it gives you a headache and makes you cry. (This is a family joke, a reference to this YouTube video, which any parent of a special needs kid should watch). Well I guess if they’re saying that, we must not be worth very much to them, huh?

T: So you think having teachers carry guns in school is a good idea?

N: (snorts) Yeah, if they have a class so they know how to shoot it. Duh!

So, there you have it. An honest “common sense” conversation about school violence with someone who’s much more likely to be directly affected by it than the politicians sitting in a conference room in DC protected by armed guards. Not, of course, that the kids people claim to be all about protecting get a voice in how, exactly, they’re to be protected.

If the kids did have a voice, their teachers – who already have the responsibility to keep the same for a third or so of their day – would be given the tools to fulfill that responsibility.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

Comments

  1. Outstanding. Kudos to you and Nutmeg for putting it out there in terms that any honest person should be able to understand and agree with.

    • Unfortunately, I fear those whose minds are already made up will pay no attention to common sense. Still, one has to try…

      • Well of course their minds are already made up! Actual safety and children are not even part of this discussion for most of them. It’s all about control… control of us AND our children. sigh

      • Sadly, I fear you are correct. I read a novel once in which one of the characters was heard to comment, “of COURSE power corrupts – thats what it’s for!”

  2. Brian C says:

    Let me tell ya a story of someone I know

    Guy gets invited to go be a chaperone for his daughters school trip to the San Jacinto Monument and Battleship Texas

    Fills out schools background check stuff…passes no problems

    Drives to school, takes his CHL out and locks it in his car, goes inside school to sit in classroom with his daughters class and teacher, sees them pledge allegiance to the American Flag, then say the Texas Pledge and then another one not sure what it is…buses arrive to school to take kids to San Jacinto monument…since the chaperone can’t ride in the school bus he has to drive his personal car there.

    Gets in car…drives to monument…on the way there puts his CHL on his hip

    Thru-out the entire day said person was intermingling with the kids, teachers, other people enjoying a day out at the San Jacinto monument, he even sat down and ate lunch with kids and teachers on the steps of the San Jacinto monument, all the while keeping a watchful eye over all of them. Same thing with driving from the San Jacinto parking lot to the Battleship Texas parking lot…he enjoyed walking around with the kids explaining to them about the history of the ship and teaching them…keeping an ever watchful eye on the students and teachers.

    Funny thing is…it was 100% completely legal to do this…yet just like the teachers/administrators of the school he was absolutely disarmed INSIDE the school because of a law that said even if you have a CHL you will go to jail if you carry it on premis…everywhere else he and the kids and the teachers were protected from the evil of this world if it would have reared its ugly head…and NOONE knew he had it…because what part of “concealed” do some people not understand…

    Did it cost the city or GCCISD a penny to have that “security” in this hypothetical story?

    The point is…anyone who gets a CHL has already shown a vested interest and personal quest for self defense, spent their money, their time, to get the firearm, training, registration, fingerprinting, background check and then PROVE proficiency with the firearm…how much will it cost if a teacher or administrator at the school has a CHL and WAS NOT disarmed under the threat and force of law…most teachers/principles/administrator are more safe at a convenience store right up the road than they are in their own schools..and how much would THAT cost the city/GCCISD again?!!?

    How many layers of fire prevention are there at schools
    How many layers of violence prevention are there???

    A resource officer, instant lock doors, only ONE point of entrance into building, metal detectors, not disarmed CHL holders, training training and more training…layers of safety!!!! (the same stuff that protects our politicians and gold)

    Oh and the above story is make believe………………….or is it

    • I totally agree with your point here, Brian – thanks for sharing this story. Actually, that’s one place where the normally brain-dead California legislature actually did something wise – LTC holders are exempted from our state’s Gun Free School Zones Act prohibition. Of course, in my county only the wealthy and politically connected get permits, but I’m eternally hopeful this will change soon. The Calguns Foundation and the SAF are fighting that battle, but it’s an uphill climb.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

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