Most of the time when we hear the words “to serve and protect” we automatically think of people in the military who are serving their country. We also think of people risking their lives to keep their families, loved ones and country safe.
But now it seems as if local high schools around the United States have become battlegrounds.
According to CNBC, the Parkland high school Valentine’s Day massacre marks the 18th school shooting in the United States in 2018. After that tragedy, which took the lives of 14 students and 3 staff members at the Broward County school, students from local high schools and rallied at the Capitol in Tallahassee for better gun control restrictions.
Now, just days after the rally, the proposals expected to move this week in House and Senate committees would arm teachers with weapons have been approved, but lawmakers have steadfastly rejected a ban of assault rifles.
Teachers should not be armed. If teachers are being armed what is the need for school police? In addition to teachers not having the proper funding to better educate their students or provide them with the basic necessary supplies, do they now need to serve and protect their students?
We expect so much from our teachers but fail to realize they are the most underpaid and underappreciated group of people. They are treated like disposable objects who can be quickly replaced.
According to Time magazine, a poll was taken and a surprising 30 percent of teachers feel they are underpaid and overworked. Instead of trying to arm teachers, why not invest in better school safety and better-trained school police or more officers on duty? Teachers alone have one of the most important jobs as educating this generation and the ones to come, so why should they serve as shields when their main focus should be education?
Vanessa Hatcher, a parent of a student at Ruediger Elementary School in Tallahassee, said the shootings have become an issue in her home.
“I am scared because he is scared. My child tells me how he is worried that something may happen and he will not know what to do. I feel it is the teachers’ job to go above and beyond to make sure these kids are safe. As a parent I should not have to try and prepare my child for a school shooting. How am I supposed to tell him that it could easily be someone in his classroom that will god forbid cause harm one day?” she said. “A kid coming in and killing their teacher one day should be the least of their concern. As a parent all I can do is talk to him and let him know that it is OK to tell the teacher if he does not feel comfortable or safe in any environment.”
According to the New York Times, since the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting approximately 26 teachers have been killed. After speaking with a few high school teachers I noticed they all shared one similarity, not knowing what to do if it happened to them. Would they use cabinets as shields? Would they knock over a bookshelf to barricade the door? Or would they simply try and escape the classroom?
“ I am not prepared for something of this magnitude. I come to work to teach kids that no dream is too big for them, or that they could be the next president if they put their mind to it. I pray I never have to go through any of these types of tragedies, but if I do I hope I am well trained and prepared to deal with the situation,” said Amy Hunter, a teacher at Ruediger.