Recess Blog

Armed Teachers? Alumna Responds

By Rob Schroeder
March 2, 2018

In the wake of the Parkland, Fla. school shooting, public debate, as expect, turned contentious.  When President Trump suggested arming teachers could be a solution to the challenges of gun violence in American schools, MEd Language, Literacies and Learning alumna Gina Caneva responded simply:  "I am a teacher."

Having grown up in Lockport, Illinois, I always remember the start of tornado season. In elementary school, beside the run-of-the-mill fire-drills, we'd duck-and-cover on the outskirts of hallways to prepare for sirens signaling an impending potential natural disaster.

Now I am a high school teacher-librarian in Englewood on the South Side of Chicago, one of the most violent and impoverished areas of our city. My students walk through metal detectors as a security guard greets them at the door.

My students have done both tornado- and fire-drills, but in the last few years, we've added district-mandated lockdown-drills in preparation for a school shooting. I am required to shut and lock my doors, turn off the lights and get the students in my library onto the floor and against an interior wall. Every time, I think about what I would do in an actual school shooting situation but quickly realize that, faced with an enraged teenager with a semiautomatic rifle, none of my scenarios for saving myself or my students would stand a chance. We are more prepared for and have a better chance of surviving a tornado than a lone gunman with a well-hatched plan.

And no, President Trump, having a gun would not make me feel any safer – just the opposite.

Read Gina's full op-ed in US News and World Report.

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