A lot of things about life don’t scare me. I wasn’t scared to move 3,000 miles away from home by myself. I wasn’t scared to go out into an unknown world, find financial footing with minimal help from family—but definitely with a little help from my friends. (I see you, fam!) I wasn’t scared to survive on my own. I persevered through sexism in the workplace, racism in schools & education, the death of friends and family, my own chaotic mind— nothing kept me down. I still show up and give it my all everyday. I’m not scurred.

Even when I thought this one student was totally capable of coming to class and taking us all out, I showed up. I notified the school, but there’s no protocol to handle that. Sure, the argument is if I was armed and trained I maybe could’ve handled a hostage negotiation. Or maybe the argument is just to shoot the damn kid? I don’t know. Luckily, Jeremy never spoke in class that semester. What I do know is that I don’t want to do shoot or maim anyone.

It is a fact that the United States has a teacher shortage nationwide. It is a fact that California is getting hit the hardest being the 5th largest economy which equates to high cost of living. A teacher’s salary simply can’t stand on its own. This is why the majority of teachers are middle-class women who provide, yet wouldn’t be able to do it without another form of income, whether that be on her own or with a wife/husband. On her own means, she would need two or three jobs just to pay the bills, or a family with money to supplement her income. This is the same for other gendered faculty as well. The point is, people can’t afford to be teachers. 

Once they’re in the game for a couple years, they realize they can make more money bartending or serving and be less burnt out every day. Or they decide to get a master’s degree to do something else. Whatever it is, the turnover rate for teachers is 50%. Enrollment into teaching programs continues to fall as well, so 50% of what number is my new question.

Now with the President of the United States, Mr. D. Trump calling for guns in every classroom, I am scared. I swear the long arm of fear tactics just keeps swinging. As a teacher, I don’t want a gun. I don’t want a gun in my classroom so some punk kid can find it and do something stupid. I don’t want the gun in my hand. I don’t want blood in the classroom; I want books in the classroom.

What kind of nation are we where guns in classrooms take priority over books in the classroom? That sounds to me like we are turning into a militant society. What are guns used for? Killing, wounding, protecting; yes. But there are too many hands in the pot in this situation. Kids find a way into everything and schools are filled with kids. 

I would never send my child to a school where I constantly had to worry about another student getting a hold of the gun, or the revolving door of teachers who have access to the gun around my kid. 

I would never send my child to a school where I was the teacher with access to the gun! I’m clumsy. You don’t want me wielding a weapon. I have a master’s in English, not in Law Enforcement. And if the solution is, “get both,” well then we had better start working on tuition prices.

Either way, if every teacher is armed in the classroom, this lover of opening minds will gracefully bow out. Call me a quitter. I will not be part of a society that prioritizes guns over books. Americans are already average intellectually, and that’s with the highest amount of academic dishonesty in history. We’re below average in important subjects like math and science: subjects that provide the know-how to lead our country into the future of robotics, medicine, energy, you name it. Some argue Americans live an anti-intellectual lifestyle. 

Next thing you know, we really won’t have any intelligence to be world leaders and we’ll just start taking it by force. We can train little armies in classrooms around the country. We’ll show videos of how to build and shoot weapons. Empathy is already on its way out, so we won’t have to work too hard to get our little armies to kill. Don’t worry, you won’t have to read anything. Just follow the video. It’s easy. Forget books, who has money for that? We’ve already started speaking in Newspeak with “wya, tbt, hmu,” the Newspeak Dictionary keeps updating. Next we’ll do away with books altogether and focus on guns and power. Who will be the enemy today?

This ain’t 1984, folks. It’s 2084. Hold onto those tape ins. 

What are your thoughts on guns taking over American classrooms?