Self

I Left The Teaching Profession Because I Did Not Want To Die At The Hands Of An Active Shooter

Photo: Hayk_Shalunts / Shutterstock
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High school graduates that are trying to decide on a career, can lean towards teaching for many reasons. They had a favorite teacher that helped them feel special through learning, love, attention, or acceptance. Perhaps a certain teacher took an interest in them and today, they're succeeding because of them.

Many of my family members are teachers. And like many others, I had a favorite teacher — in fact, I had many favorite teachers. They were all different but shared a common thread in the sense that they encouraged and inspired me in ways that wanted to make me a better person.

When you become a teacher, you learn skills, procedures, policies, and processes. You also learn about instructional strategies in a way that supports your students at all levels of learning.

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But nowhere in a teacher's job description is combat training.

If we think about the words in the quote from @JoshuaPotash: "To ask teachers to be on the front line of mass shootings."

Who else do we ask to be on the front line? We ask military personnel who have been trained for combat. We ask them to serve their country in our time of need, and when they enter the service, they're aware of the potential consequences

We train law enforcement and give them the tools required to do their jobs and protect. 

But we don't train teachers about battle combat. 

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In fact, I left my teaching career years ago because I decided this is not how I wanted my life to end: To be on the other side of an active shooter in a classroom. 

Nobody's life should end that way.

Have you seen a child's face when they even have to practice for an active shooter drill? I have.

I'm not talking about a teenager who at this point has had these drills from the beginning of their school year. I'm talking about a first or 2nd grader who is scared that they will never go home or see their family again. How about the teacher who has a family of their own?

Why is it we don't find schools important enough to secure our families? Why are we treating innocent children as though they're expendable byproducts — just to protect the "freedom" of the Second Amendment?

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Kids, teachers, and HUMANS are NOT EXPENDABLE.

Many schools don’t have the luxury of having a School Resource Officer, which is a "sworn law-enforcement officer with arrest powers who works, either full or part-time, in a school setting." 

The most recent federal data available, from the 2017-18 school year, show that about 45 percent of schools had an SRO in place at least once a week. (Another 13 percent of schools reported hosting police who were not SROs.)

If we can’t find a way to change gun laws, and we don’t find mental illness enough of a priority to make sure all people are able to get the help they need, we must find other alternatives. Fund school resource officers in each school, hell, fund more than one. Teachers and kids want to come home in the same shape they went to school in the morning. 

Create safe rooms in each classroom, metal doors, and bulletproof windows. What are our children and teachers worth? What bills are we working on in our United States government that take precedence over the lives of our United States citizens?

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Teachers and parents alike complain about class size — but I would put 100 kids in a classroom every day if I knew they were going to come home at the end of the day.

Today is the day we need to figure this out. Not tomorrow, not next week, and certainly, not when the next school year starts. Now.

We already have teachers leaving the profession at alarming rates because as a country we don’t find their positions important enough to make them safe as they care for and teach our children.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were approximately 10.6 million educators working in public education in January 2020; today there are just 10.0 million, a net loss of around 600,000.

The BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey found that the ratio of hires to job openings in the education sector reached new lows as the 2021-22 school year started. It currently stands at 0.59 hires for every open position, a large decrease from 1.54 in 2010 and 1.06 in 2016.

If our children and teachers' lives, if human lives, matter to you, SHOW THEM.

Stop talking generalities about gun laws and mental health; we've been discussing those issues for years not and school shootings continue to happen. All the politicians sound like a broken record. 

Find another solution.

Because frankly, I'm tired of crying and praying for dead children and teachers who just wanted to live.

Tina Grimsley has a Multicategorical Special Education degree and has taught special education in the public school system.  

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