This is a Gun-free Zone

Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas and Texas Governor Rick Perry have suggested in the wake of the December 14 Sandy Hook massacre of 26 women and children by the deranged son of a gun nut that teachers should carry guns.  Pistol-packin' administrators and teachers, they have said, could have prevented the slaughter of babies in Newtown last week.

Thus are the administrators and teachers of Sandy Hook School responsible for the deaths of 20 children and six adults because they did not pack heat.

Talk about cashing in on a crisis. 

It's sick.

It's also not possible.  Teachers are in the business of building relationships among students and between children and adults.  We are about building trust.  There is no "do this or die" in the lesson plan.

In fact, the lesson plan is all about ultimately teaching a student that he or she is totally responsible for him or herself.  The point is, we, the teachers, are helpless at controlling behavior.  Ultimately, only the student can do that.  Our job is to convince a child that everything about life makes being good stewards of our power over ourselves absolutely essential. 

Being a teacher means being open to our students, their families, administrators, the guy on the street, the latest theory on education published in some obscure journal, our families, and the phases of the moon.  We make a thousand decisions a day and adapt our every move to the needs and the moods of our students at any given moment.  Being a teacher means loving life by being available to the people in front of us in any given moment.  No teacher worth her salt has the time to practice taking life.  Any teacher who feels the need to do that needs to find a different career.

Teaching is demanding work that is often belittled by yahoos who have no idea what it is to be responsible for 100+ children and to interact with 100+ adults every day to get the job done.  I'm willing to bet my eye teeth the staunchest advocates of arming teachers and protecting the (bizarre) right to bear arms can count the number of meaningful relationships in their own lives on one hand.  I'm willing to bet, too, that they' d shrivel up and die if they had to put their heart on the line day in and day out for young people who depended on them to be kind and understanding, reasonable and intelligent. 

But I’m just a girl looking at the soft side of things.  Let’s be real and talk about the dollars that must be a part of the arming-the-teachers conversation.  If you expect me to carry a gun, then my school district will have to buy it the same way it has to buy textbooks, computers, paper, and the like.  

Except that I don't have a textbook.  Nor do I have student computers.  Nor do I have paper.  

Should the gun project you are proposing sap funds from the purchase of textbooks and other resources?  And all that training.  Should teachers' professional development be spent on practice at the rifle range? Or should we work on ways to help kids become effective communicators, that they might understand this world better?

Further, how shall I lock up your gun?  The only thing in my classroom that locks is the door with a big window.  Nobody can find the keys to my desk, and somebody else removed the lock to my cabinet.  I live on trust.  So I have no place for the gun you want to buy me.    

And I’m doing fine.

Teachers live to build lives, to encourage young people to believe in themselves and the people around them, to be confident that their intellectual gifts, once refined and polished, will get them through any kind of trouble.  Our conversations aren't about ending life when we're good and pissed with someone who disagrees with us but about building meaning in life by dealing with those points of disagreement in constructive, thoughtful ways. The “I feel you,” and “Feel me?” lingo of the hour are current for a reason. 

Think about that.

Teaching is about trying and giving and believing that every day is good because we're here.  It's about heart.  We can't do this work with the threat of death strapped to our sides or in our desks that don't lock anyway because the keys were lost sometime during the Eisenhower era.

We teach because we love life.  Bury your dinosaurs, gun people.  Take a little break from the dark side and join us.  We’ll read to you, talk to you, draw a picture with you.  We have cookies, and we care.  And that’s what we teach.


  1. Very well expressed!

    Aloha from Waikiki, Sandy
    Comfort Spiral
    ~ > < } } ( ° >
    > < } } ( ° >

  2. Very well said, Sandy. It's a ludicrous and ignorant suggestion. Just.. wrong.

  3. What is our world coming to? Teachers having guns? My god.

  4. I totally agree...

  5. I can't imagine the thought of teachers with guns. What a scary thought.These people that say this haven't been in a classroom since the pioneers crossed the prairies. I fully agree with your stance.

  6. "We teach because we love life."- teary eyed as I read through this post....God bless your caring heart....

  7. Well said. I had a friend in the Gas Industry who spent some time teaching during one of the industries downturns who told me that he had never worked so hard in his life (for so little money).

    I've thought about teaching as a "bridge" to retirement because I like working with young people but I am sure that I could not be "on" all day. I am basically a professional negotiator and things get intense every so often but I can retreat to my cubicle and decompress. I don't think that teachers have that luxury of decompressing.

    The whole gun thing is nuts here in OK. We have open carry, and "stand your ground" and all sorts of stuff.

  8. Good for you Sandy. More guns will mean more deaths I say, just as in The Wild West.

  9. When stuff like this happens, the last thing on your mind is to get a gun.It would have to be locked away and by the time you get it, you'd probably be dead.
    Guns have no place in a school or even in a home with kids. Guns such as the ones used on these children should not be, period.
    Gun laws are useless because those who want to get them will. They can build them design them and make their own bullets for them.

    The world behaves in a me first way.
    Adults care about their rights as opposed to the childrens'. Childrens' minds do not have maturity levels it takes years to grow and build so they do what they see other immature adults doing.If it's ok for them it's ok for kids too. So being an adult doesnt mean reaching the age of 21.
    It means being responsible in your behavior knowing other eyes are watching and learning from you.
    You have to put your best foot forward so the world becomes a better place.

  10. Oh, don't even get me started on Texas and Rick Perry and all those like him -- and I was born in Texas, although these days I don't make any claim to that!! Thankfully, you've said it all and so well, Sandy, and I couldn't possibly agree with you more! As a former teacher I do understand and agree with all you've written. One keeps asking -- when do people like Perry grow up and stop yelling about gun rights and start talking about the rights of children and those rights have nothing to do with a gun in everyones hand.

  11. Good post Sandy..I remember the Eisenhower era..for the most part a pretty good time but even then we had school drills in case we were nuked by the Russians.. I'm afraid there are no easy solutions.

  12. Very well expressed. I fully agree, Sandy.

  13. Well said Sandy! Teachers are at the brunt of attack if it's anything to do with the school environment. It's about time others show respect and compassion to the profession. Nicely!


  14. I soo agree with you! I simply do NOT understand how gun people think. Unfathomable!

  15. Amen and Amen, Sandy! My mother raised us to believe that if we lived our lives right, we didn't need to carry a gun. I'm with you! :)

  16. Great post.
    Hope you can get the space you need for a Christmas break.

    Giving school teachers guns is wrong on so many levels as to be unthinkable - and that people can think it shows they have no idea about the job we do.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Australia


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