Last Friday, I was lucky enough to be allowed (expected, even!) to go to Take Your Parents to School Day. There weren't a ton of parents there, as I expected, since one's parents are absolutely the most uncool things possible if you're in Middle School. For some reason, though, Daphne is not completely embarrassed by us yet, and so, I got to go to Art class and English with my 6th grader. I'll take it as long as I can get it.
A little over a week since the shooting in Parkland, and I admit I was spooked being in a school. I looked around the Art room, one of the few classrooms with windows, and wondered where we would shelter if the unimaginable occurred. Or, was there maybe a door at the end of the hall we could just run out? I forgot to look before the bell rang, and then it was too late.
After Art we went to English, where I was greeted by Daphne's amazing teacher who told me, not for the first time, that she LOVES my kid. I believe her. She loves all of her students She calls them "mine." I have to admit, I got a little choked up, and thanked her for loving my kid. There are no windows in the English classroom. No closets. No escape routes. Just a locked door. And a teacher who loves her kids.
I spent a lot of time working in public schools. I was a tutor at in inner city school in Dallas. Two actually. Neither of which had any security to speak of. I subbed at several different schools, from K-12, in a suburb of Dallas, and I also taught Special Ed and worked as a Speech Pathologist in the same district. I loved my kids, too.
I know from that experience that teachers do more than teach. They also counsel, referee, nurse, discipline, motivate, and sometimes even feed their students. I had to call child protective services more than once. I was stalked briefly by a scary father who suspected I was the one who called CPS. I had to attend meetings and help decide the plans for students with Special Needs. I had to break up fights. I had to console kids who were crying over bullies or bad grades or troubles at home. On top of all that, I had to plan and teach and grade and report. It's a big job.
When the dismissal bell rang after English on Friday, I went into the locker area with Daphne to get her stuff, and then through the halls to the exit. It was crowded, and loud and chaotic. A lot of the kids were taller than me, so it was hard to see down the hall. And I thought about a shooter. If there had been a shooter at the other end of the hall with a semi-automatic rapid fire assault style weapon, it wouldn't have mattered one bit if I was an armed teacher, adept or not. There were probably 200 kids between me and the end of the hall. The odds of shooting an innocent kid would have been overwhelming in a normal situation, much less in chaos and panic.
Arming teachers is not the answer. They have enough on their plates. More guns are not the answer. I don't know what the answer is, but it's not those things. We have an opportunity here, and clearly a desire to do something. But we don't have the leadership. If I was in charge, I would immediately set up a task force to study the problem scientifically and come up with rational, reasonable options. I would not cross my arms and pout at Governors who dare to question me. I would not bow to the whims of lobbying organizations. Complicated problems deserve thoughtful open-minded discussion. That seems like such a no-brainer. Sadly, that will not likely happen in a political climate such as this.
I think I am going to get back to blogging. I'm hoping it will not all be political in nature, but I do need an outlet at times like this. Parkland is heavy on my mind and heart. It didn't have to happen and I'm struggling with that. I can't imagine how those kids are going to feel going back into that school later this week.
Anyway, hello again, blog. Tomorrow is another day. Maybe I'll post some pictures of puppies or something.