That's not a fake picture. That's an actual freeze frame from a news segment that has aired about the possibility of Oklahoma teachers carrying guns. And it's a very hot topic in my neck of the woods, right now, because I live only 10 minutes from the Oklahoma border.
I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times - I don't like to use my blog for talking about hot topics like religion, politics, etc. But, sometimes I have to put my 2 cents in on a topic that actually has something to do with me.
While perusing around Facebook, yesterday, I noticed story after story after story discussing that Oklahoma teachers may soon be carrying guns to school with them - after taking a short course about gun safety - and my heart stopped beating for a second. Will it really get to that? Will my neighbor state really move towards training and arming their teachers as if they were police officers?
I was very surprised at the equal mix of comments on the news stories. Many people were in support of having more guns on a school campus, many were opposed.
I read actual comments such as:
I'd feel safer knowing that my child was protected by an armed teacher.
The only way to truly protect children from crazy gunmen is to have an armed person waiting for them, and what better person than their teacher?
What happens if a teacher gets really mad at a student? Or a student gets really mad and overpowers the teacher with the gun?
What kind of message will we send to our children if the teachers start carrying guns? We're basically telling them that they aren't safe anymore.
I'm in full support of it ONLY if the teacher receives the proper training and the guns are kept in locked safes. With a response of: What good will it do to have the gun in a locked safe? By the time the teacher gets it out, they'll already be shot.And I could go on and on and on. Some of the comments made me think, others scared me to death.
Hubby and I have had our share of conversations about this very topic. He has a concealed license. He owns guns. Me? I hate them. But, I will admit, I feel just a tad safer knowing that there is someone in my house that's trained to use a gun - and has one available if he needs it. That's not to say that we have guns laying around our house. Not a single gun is ANYWHERE my kids can get to. They are locked up. Period. However, if the need should ever arise, I'm confident that Hubby could be armed and ready in a split second.
So, what's my actual opinion on teachers being allowed to carry concealed weapons? I don't like it. Not one bit. That doesn't mean I'm opposed to having guns on campus - but only in the hands of those truly trained to use one, comfortable with using one, and are kept away from any child.
What good would that do a school? I don't know. I really, honestly don't want to think about it. I would, however, feel a little safer knowing that the administration in our building had access to firearms - if the need arose. I would feel a little safer knowing that there were police officers on campus that had the only job of protecting our campus. Would I feel safer knowing that there was a gun in every classroom on campus? Not at all.
At the end of the day, this business in Oklahoma does scare me. Mainly because I think it's quick judgement over a tremendous tragedy. Because such a heinous crime took place in Sandy Hook, schools and states are now making decisions that are too quick. Not properly thought out. Where too many questions will go unanswered.
I have this horrible feeling in the bottom of my stomach that this bill will pass, and we'll start to see an incline in problems. What will it take before all of the pros and cons are truly examined? Will an accidental discharge that causes an injury have to occur? Will a teacher have to be overpowered for his/her weapon? Will a disgruntled teacher have to snap and do something terrible?
I honestly, truly, don't think the answer to preventing school shootings is to arm every employee. Do I think that added protection is needed in schools? Of course. But at the end of the day, taking guns away from law-biding citizens or giving guns to every teacher might not be the answer.
If it were so easy to stop criminals from committing crimes, wouldn't that have happened already?
All I know is that I would do whatever it takes to protect the precious angels in my classroom. No doubt about it. I would jump in front of a bullet, I would hide them all in every nook and cranny available, I would throw chairs or tables or any heavy object at a person who was trying to harm us.
But, I can also go about my day loving every student that walks in my room or attends my school. I can give them support, guidance, reassurance that nothing is ever as bad as they think it is. I can send them home each day with the feeling of love. I can look out for any child that may show signs of being bullied or is somehow hurting inside. And I can pray to all things holy that taking preventative measures that way may change the mind of any student or person who wishes to do me or my class any harm.
Because at the end of the day, I didn't become a teacher to worry about whether or not I need a gun to protect my students. I protect my kids every day. I became a teacher so that every kid I come in to contact with knows that there is at least one person who will ALWAYS be there for them, to give them the tools they need to make something with their lives, to make my classroom a safe haven for any situation that may be taking place at home. Not a single child in my room now, or that ever walks in to my room will feel the pressure of a label, or live in a shadow of a past reputation. There are no bad kids... just kids that need someone to help and support them. I show them that I don't give a flying flip about what trouble they've got in to in the past, or how much they hated school because of problems they've had to deal with. Those things stop the day I become their teacher.