Friday, February 23, 2018

School in the 21st Century

In the wake of yet another school shooting massacre, our politicians have once again proposed the idea that the solution to the problem is to heavily arm schools. Because naturally the answer to a gun problem is more guns. Putting more and more guns in schools will of course keep them safe. I mean, what could go wrong?

Any reasonably sane person would be able to come up with many scenarios to answer that question. The most obvious is that teachers are not police officers, and they didn't go into teaching to become security guards. But putting all that aside, putting everything to do with adults aside, what does it do to the children who attend these schools? How is modeling schools after our wonderful prison system a benefit to education? 

As crazy as all of these proposals are, the most troubling idea this week came from Betsy Devos when she brought up this idea of seating assignments. She discussed a school where currently teachers do not assign seats, but periodically allow students to pick who they want to sit next to and then switch it up every month or so. The rationale behind this idea is to identify the kids who nobody wants to sit next to, and expose them as potentially troubled kids who may be prone to creating a shooting event. This is so many kinds of crazy that I don't even know where to begin.

So, because a kid doesn't have friends, they are a potential shooter? Maybe. But for argument's sake, let's say he is not (and I say 'he' because all of these shootings have been done by males). But what is having him publicly endure a monthly form of ritual systematic bullying likely to do? And if someone is identified, are the schools equipped to get these kids the help they need? Probably not if the money is going to buy guns for teachers and give gun-carrying teacher's a bonus. 

Here's the thing, I'm not saying there is nothing that can be done to make schools safer...I'm sure there is. But I just don't think it has anything to do with putting guns in schools. And I don't understand why we can't add gun regulation to the conversation. WHY not both? And why not invest money into actually educating? Schools are dramatically under funded. If we fully funded schools, perhaps these "problem" kids could be given a better chance from a young age.

Seeing the kids of this country finally taking a stand on this has been both heartbreaking and hopeful. Politicians will only do what they are made to do by the will of the people. If we don't give up, we will win.

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