A Time For Action.
Friday was an exciting day.
On Thursday of last week, the Edu-Mountain had gotten a series of threatening messages. One piece of graffiti, or “tagging” threatened a teacher with gun violence, and another just sort of generically threatened the school, with a shooting and said “you have been warned.” A third item was a video posted to social media, showing a student who appeared to be armed, on school campus. The last was easily pursued and handled the night of the event, by the excellent work of LAPD.
It was still necessary to have a before school “emergency meeting” about these topics.
At that meeting, I asked whether we would be increasing supervision and security in response to the threats. The answer was a small paragraph of suit speak, to which I needed to rephrase with, “That was a yes or no question, sir.” Our leader then went on to explain how supervision is actually the responsibility of EVERY person on campus. I don’t disagree, which is why I am constantly supervising…in the hall, on lunch, and after school. That day, a coach and I decided to cancel our club and team meetings, and do active lunchtime supervision.
We did not see the principal on our roving rounds, despite the fact that HE said that “supervision is the responsibility of every person on campus.”
I actively dislike hypocrisy. That one was…hard to take in stride.
All week long, and all weekend long, people have been asking me the same question. I was asked this question while doing rounds with my friend, and we had the same answer, for different reasons. Sadly, it is the question now in the national dialogue due to the chief executive of the United States.
“Would you carry a gun on campus, with a concealed carry permit, for a stipend?”
More specifically, if that were to be the direction that California education goes, there is a high probability that I would resign, and find something else to do. I put the safety of students first, because if they aren’t safe, they can’t learn anything, they can’t move onward to their futures. That means that I have to protect them, and I honestly don’t believe that having more guns on campus would increase that safety.
There are already guns on campus in LAUSD. We have a school police officer, who is armed (and an actual cop). A survey done by the district suggested that there would be an average of nine weapons on campus on any given day, because students themselves feel unsafe. That would bring me to ten guns on any given day, only one in the hands of a person that is competent in their usage. The number doesn’t need to go up.
I have been pointing out that I would take a stipend to wear a bulletproof vest, and be designated as a “Guardian Teacher” of some kind. When I propose this to other educators, they answer me back with, “But no one would do that.” It’s amazing to me that the prevailing theory is that we would be happy to give the power to take lives, but would not stand up, and in front to protect without that power. It’s depressing, actually.
My current principal, and his VP’s, don’t really listen to advice on supervision. Would they suddenly do so if there were an armed contingent of teachers? If so…what does that say about us in general? That we only listen to people with guns, which is the @#$%ing problem.
While we did our rounds, my old friend and I talked, and stopped to talk with large numbers of students. They aren’t stupid…they knew what was going on, and they knew why we were out and about, instead of our club meetings. It was really nice and charming. Kids stopped and spoke to us, and thanked us for caring enough to take the walk. We forget about the vast number of excellent kids in our system, and we shouldn’t. They are the reason that we are there, and the whole business of our future.
This isn’t going to grind to a halt. Not by a long shot. The Faculty Meeting tomorrow is supposed to have some discussion of safety issues, and I’m going to have to ask some hard questions of our leader.
Stay tough, True Believers. IF you really want to help, or have kids, I would advise calling your local representatives, e-mailing them, and letting them know that you don’t want more guns in schools. We elect these people, and if they realize that the overwhelming majority of us don’t want these things, and are prepared to vote them out of office, we can get some real change.
I learned that from a mess of kids in Florida recently, who define what it means to be heroic.