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A Mixture of Guns and Lesson Plans in the World of Paranoia

The recent Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy has caused a red alert in the entire nation. This incident has not just improved the school systems all over the United States, but has also renewed a spirit of cooperation and unity among school personnel, parents, and the community. Nowadays, many issues are being integrated in order to arrive at (possibly) a single and unified approach to addressing the problem of school safety and security.

In my district, the previous year was concluded by the Superintendent's series of site visits and a message of concern for all to stay calm and be assured that everything is secure, safe, and under control. The Sandy Hook tragedy was a painful reminder that there is something in the school doors that needed to be fixed, in the way school visitors are addressed, and kids and staff are accounted for during the entire day. It is sad that we needed to wait for twenty seven lives to sacrifice in order to rectify certain issues that should have been corrected long ago and are consistently monitored on a daily basis.

One of the headlines in Brian Williams' NBC Nightly News is the recently-concluded training of teachers in the states of Ohio and Texas. If you think the training was about a more effective implementation of Common Core Standards, positive behavior intervention and support, 21st-century technology in the classroom, or differentiation in a diverse classroom environment, you are definitely wrong!

The training was about an $85 concealed handgun license course offered to teachers, administrators, and other personnel at absolutely no cost. Say it again?!

In Ohio, more than 900 teachers flocked into a 3-day training, while the 400 spots in Texas were easily filled.

If the world embraces this event with open arms and without any protest, I am in deep prayer that it doesn't happen in the state of North Carolina.

At first, this insane theory sounds too good to be true: to protect the school children. Come to think of it, however, there are specialists who can ensure the protection. Teachers are supposed to be IN the classroom delivering instruction. They are needed by students in order to weed out difficulties in reading, writing, and math. They should be there to provide expertise in studying about motion and gravity, the environment, and the long history of the country that is not only centered upon winning the war against other countries, but the struggle of its people to persevere in an increasingly complex process across time and space. Teachers are there to redirect and give prompting, to scaffold and to mold young minds, share lessons of value, and care for students -- both those who will go to college and those who are planning to take GED in order to acquire a high school diploma (this is another term for 'dropping out'!)

I don't mind seeing resource officers visibly roaming around the campus on a broad daylight even in elementary schools. That is their job: "to serve and protect." But to realize that teachers are carrying guns in the school premises does not only scare me -- it makes me scarier!

In a society where depression is just within reach, and where there is too much reasons to suffer mental illness (overworked, underpaid, isolation, lack of inspiration, loss of self-respect, or a diminishing self-esteem), is there any guarantee that no one among those teachers who have the 'license to carry' a handgun could not fall through the cracks? It is grossly unthinkable to anticipate another tragedy -- this time behind sealed school doors and classrooms because the culprit is a teacher who was among the hundreds trained to purportedly protect the schoolchildren. What will happen to the children?

When criminal justice experts and the members of the military are about to be trained to hold guns, they undergo a battery of neuro-psychological tests in order to determine whether they have the capacity to be trusted in carrying guns. Were these teachers tested? May I clarify that Praxis tests are meant to determine aptitude, not to measure patience and the severity of depression or a tendency for mental illness to occur later in life among the members of the noblest profession in the world.

If it happens, is there any other option left?


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