Letter: Do not add ‘sharpshooter’ to our job description

Thursday, March 08, 2018
Do not add ‘sharpshooter’ to our job description

I am a public high school teacher and feel adamantly that teachers should not be carrying weapons in school, much less be expected to use them on school shooters.

As students file into their classrooms, here is a glimpse at what teachers are juggling: How am I going to engage my students today? How do I adjust my lesson plans based on what I see before me? Do I need to separate Jim and Janie so they can concentrate? Who do I need to invite after school for help? Are the students ready for their test? How can I encourage Cody now that he has been kicked out of his house? How can I reach students distracted by the latest social media post?

Here is what we do not want to add to our morning checklist: Is my gun safe? Do I know how to load and use it effectively? How recently have I retrained? Do I have a chance against a shooter with a semi-automatic?

Teachers need to be focused on education, not on policing. If security guards and police (as in Florida) are afraid to confront a semi-automatic shooter, how can a teacher do better? Will body armor and radios be next? What about accidents?

I call on Gov. Chris Sununu’s school safety task force to recommend improving background checks, funding more school counselors and getting rid of bump stocks and semi-automatic firearms. Students and teachers will be watching for courageous action by legislators.