Published: January 27, 2013
Do we need armed school teachers?
As a 50-year veteran of covering crime scenes for the news media, I never dreamt – or had the nightmare – that our society would ever be faced with a need for armed educators in elementary schools.
The only assault weapon I had in second grade was a pea shooter.
I use second grade as an example of the question because when I walked into the second grade classroom back at our tiny rural school of higher ciphering and advanced thinking, I instantly knew the teacher didn’t like me. And for certain, I didn’t like our teacher, the one we affectionately called “Old Lady Cox.”
From day one, it was a war zone of emotions between teacher and pupil.
Within days, it was more than just an emotional war. It became physical between us, which at the time, I was only 7 years old.
How physical was it?
So physically intense, the situation ultimately required attention from the school superintendent, my parents and some other concerned parents in our farming community.
The first physical confrontation between us erupted two weeks after school resumed from cotton vacation, when my teacher caught Rosemary Hopper, a fellow student who was the fox of second grade, passing a little note to me, asking, “I like you. Do you like me?”
That is when all hell broke loose, as Old Lady Cox was embarrassing Rosemary in front of the whole class. It was this fateful day I may have started my professional writing career.
After Old Lady Cox administered a paddling across my shoulders with her wide, leather belt, she swooped back to the front of the classroom.
When things settled down, I penned a note to her and deposited it on the edge of her desk.
A few minutes later, we heard this roar from the front of the room.
Old Lady Cox had found the note.
I remember the note verbatim: “Dear Mrs. Cox, I hate your guts, very much.”
Not being a bright student, I signed the note: “Little Danny Whittle.”
This resulted in my second paddling in less than 10 minutes.
And when my teacher got back to the front of the room by the blackboard, she instructed me to get the book she had left on my desk, and to “do it pronto!”
Being that my teacher didn’t specify how to deliver the big, heavy book, I airmailed that parcel … and enjoyed watching it sail through the air before it came down precisely atop her noggin.
After wobbling a few steps as if dazed, Old Lady Cox administered my third whipping, all within a 20-minute span of time.
Now, do you think it would have been wise for either Old Lady Cox or any of us students to have access to a gun in the second grade classroom?
I don’t think so.
I was reared in a rural farm culture, one in which we were taught to take up for ourselves and our family name.
In the teacher’s defense, I’m sure she had never taught in a rural society where we were taught at home to take up for ourselves. In my defense, I had never been around an adult who didn’t like me.
Later in high school, we had two male teachers that other teachers warned students not to cause too much stress, due to their being shell-shocked from serving in World War II and the Korean War.
Would it have been wise for these teachers to be armed?
If we arm teachers who have emotional problems would it be fair not to arm students in order for them to protect themselves against possible mentally unhealthy teachers?
Will there be a limit on weaponry at future schools, including tanks and rocket launchers?
Will all these weapons ultimately blow up in our free society’s collective face?