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Teachers are supposed to play a critical role in shaping the development of our nation’s children and teens. Though undervalued, they always have been tasked with creating supportive learning environments that enable their students to thrive.
Yet how are they supposed to do this when teaching is now ranked as one of the most stressful occupations in the United States? This stress is affecting educators’ mental and physical health, leading to burnout, poor performance, and escalating turnover.
And as we grapple with yet another school shooting, our educators are also left to navigate an uncertain environment, where tragedy can strike at any moment. Now, consider the undue stress that some of our educators would face if they were asked to take on double duty as law enforcement officers, as proposed by President Trump and embraced by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the National Rifle Association after the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
There are the questions of logistics: Where will the teacher keep the gun — on a holster under the arm? Will it be loaded at all times? How are children going to feel in a class where their teacher might be wearing a gun?
Our educators’ role in our society is to teach, not to be armed. Rather than arm our teachers and anticipate the worst, let’s heed the call on social media from educators across the country and arm them with the resources to be more mindful, compassionate, and responsive in the classroom, and embrace the role they have always played in our society: creating a learning environment where all our children and teens can feel engaged and cared for, and thrive.
Read the full article about arming teachers with support by Patricia Jennings at The 74.