Here we go again

“I know nothing stays the same
But if you’re willing to play the game
It’s coming around again.” — Carly Simon

These get worse and worse every time you hear them. The victims get younger and younger and the shooters more and more alarming. This time it was a six year old that purposefully brought a gun to school and opened fire on his teacher. She survived the shot and hopefully will make a full recovery. Who knows if the 25 year old first grade teacher will want to teach again.

These stories involve the worst parts of our collective humanity and yet they involve incredible acts of heroism. The victim had the presence of mind to successfully get most of the class outside the classroom. When she saw that she didn’t get everyone she went back for the rest. She deserves all of the medals and honors that any of us can bestow on her.

I began teaching in 1997. I was a mere 23 year old teaching kids as old as 18 and 19. Looking back, I shudder at how inept I was. I knew the material and did the best I could to deliver it, but nothing prepared me for the challenges teachers encounter every day.

Over the years, I have had numerous successes and numerous failures. Yet, there was never a time when I seriously thought one of my students would want to hurt me. I certainly think some of my ex-students were capable of hurting others. I even had one student I worked with that was charged with murder. I’m not sure how that case is doing at this point.

No one goes into education expecting to make millions. My parents would regale us with stories about how they sold glass bottles back to the store to scrape the pennies necessary to buy groceries. Movie theatres would give them discounts and other businesses would as well. It was just understand that teachers would struggle.

This is one of those deals where people in both parties talk about how teachers should make more. Obviously, some think we get enough already. I live a comfortable life. I could complain, but I really shouldn’t and can’t with any intellectual honesty. I’m not turning down more money, but money is not the biggest area of concern.

The biggest area of concern is how a six year old can get their hands on a 9 MM handgun and why they would feel the need to shoot their teacher. The rhetorical questions have answers, but none of them are satisfying. The other area of concern is to somehow reconcile the reverence people have for teachers and yet people outside the classroom interject their values and prejudices into it. Either you trust us with your kids or you don’t.

I don’t think any kid really wants to shoot me, but I also don’t give them any reason to do it. Some teachers are more confrontational. Some teachers are more strict. That’s not my job, so I’m fortunate. Those teachers may have to be those things because it ultimately helps the kids in the end. I wouldn’t be foolish to say every teacher has the best interest of kids at heart. It’s an indefensible statement. Yet, that is the default position until proven otherwise.

We don’t need door control. We don’t need a cop in every hallway. We don’t need to wear bulletproof vests or arm the staff. What we need is common sense measures that will keep a six year old from having a 9 MM in his possession. It’s just one area where the rest of the world looks our way and scratches their head. We know what’s causing this and we know how to stop it. That’s only if we are being intellectually honest.

Author: sbarzilla

I have written three books about baseball including The Hall of Fame Index. I also write for You can follow me on twitter @sbarzilla.

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