I Buy My Own Pencil


As I sit here this morning, getting ready for work, I am watching highlights from the past few days news. Most are revolving around the Marjory Stoneham Douglas School, where a 19-year-old recently killed 17 people and injured many more. It disgusts me. Unfortunately, it is all too commonplace. This is not an anomaly anymore, but the norm. I listen to news articles on both sides, supporting guns and removing them. The hype around shootings and how many of them are fake news. It disgusts me. How have we gone so wrong?

This morning, as I watched the live footage of our president, offering bonuses to teachers for carrying guns, I almost lost my breakfast. Is this a joke I thought? I buy my students pencils, paper, snacks, and many other items throughout the day and the year. This spending far exceeds my $250 write off (that will be lost in next year’s tax plan). However, the government will buy me a gun? And not just me, 20%; that’s one in five adults in the school Mr. President (in-case you struggle to do the fifth-grade math, my children could figure out). We want to cut teacher pay, yet we are now giving out bonuses for carrying guns?

What do you want me to model by carrying a gun around school? What do you want me to teach my students? Or do you not really care. It is so hard to type this and not become overtly political. People are dying because of guns on campus and the answer is to bring more on? I do my best to model compassion, empathy, kindness, and hard work. A gun is a vehicle of intimidation, fear, and hatred. I attempt to teach equality, yet a gun explicitly tells a different story, a story of haves and have-nots.

As with any tragedy, I hope that this event becomes a catalyst for change. When I see students confronting senators, like Mark Rubio, and organizing walkouts until things change, it makes me proud. Proud that I helped instill that type of independent free thought in students like my own.

I pray that this is the last shooting in any school, anywhere. However, until we truly have more stringent gun control laws, I fear that many more children and educators will continue to put themselves at risk.  The answer is not to buy us guns and put more guns in schools, but to have tighter control on the sale of guns.

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