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Thursday, January 5, 2023

You get a gun, I get a gun, all teachers get a gun, coming soon to DCPS

 Guns in classrooms, sigh, why is the solution to gun violence often more guns? Is the solution to cancer more cancer? What bad thing can be solved with more of that bad thing? Despite this, guns in the classroom may be coming to DCPS, especially after superintendent Greene’s hard right turn and embracing the indefensible. 

In the Florida Voice, school board member Lori Hershey was asked about any upcoming community meetings and this is what she said. 

 Q: Do you have any community meetings planned?
A: Yes. We will have a community meeting on Jan. 17 from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. at Loretto Elementary School specifically to discuss an upcoming safety topic. With the apparent desire of the Florida Commissioner of Education to expand the Guardian Program to include the ability for teachers and coaches to carry a gun in schools, I’d like to get the community’s input. Presently, Duval County Public Schools is operating under a resolution we passed about five years ago that limits gun carry to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and our security guards. This possible expansion is something I’d like the community to learn about and give their input. I hope to learn what District 7 thinks of this proposal at this meeting. 

I have always liked Mrs. Hershey, now don’t get me wrong, I was befuddled and disappointed when after thinking about a run for the state house, she played to a far-right base and voted against changing the names of schools named after confederate generals, but overall she has been a solid though not very vocal supporter of public education. However, with that part, she has plenty of company. 

So should I be glad she is having a community meeting to discuss it? Probably not, as we have seen how the right-wing base turns out recently to fight against LGBTQ protections, sex ed, and books, yes, books. I can imagine a mob of gun-nuts showing up demanding their teachers have guns even though this will undoubtedly lead to a tragedy and don’t take my word for it, take facts and evidence instead. 

From the University of Connecticut 

There is extremely limited evidence on the effectiveness of SROs in deterring violence. There is no empirical support for the suggestion that SROs prevent school shootings.[lvii] Research on averted school shootings – incidents planned by students and then prevented – suggests that the key is having trusted adults whom other students can inform.[lviii] 

In the triad model concept advanced by NASRO, in addition to their law enforcement role, SROs will act as another mentor, educator, or counselor. However, this assumption ignores the fact that Black youth, Latine youth, immigrant youth, indigenous youth, and youth living in poverty often come to school with harmful experiences with police that may perpetuate racial inequalities in educational, health, and social outcomes.[lxii] By putting police in schools, we are exacerbating these issues 

Guns in classrooms is a manifestly stupid idea. Having overworked, underpaid, and stressed-out teachers with minimal training make the idea exponentially more stupid.   

The acted-upon solutions to gun violence, turning schools into prisons and arming more people, are destructive and will do more harm than good, and evidence proves that just doesn’t work. Which is truly maddening because there are solutions out there. 

Smaller classes so teachers can know their students better, and teachers aren’t overworked, allowing them to catch the signs of potential trouble. 

School psychologists and social workers to intervene with children in trouble and full-service schools where we can make sure children get what they need would all prove more beneficial. 

So, kudos to Mrs. Hershey for having a meeting but a raspberry too for not saying, no, not on my watch, under no circumstance will I entertain the idea of arming teachers.  

We should use facts and evidence to make decisions, especially lifesaving or life-endangering ones, not the angry voices of willfully ignorant mobs.  

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