Letter: Teachers do not fear students

Published 3:18 pm Sunday, March 4, 2018

This is in response to the letter, “Teachers already fear some students” (in Thursday’s Post), and meant to offer an “in-the-trenches” perspective.

Arming teachers is not asking them to be afraid of students. The propagation that the “danger will be disproportionately shared by black and brown students, who already make teachers afraid by their existence alone” is a gross over-generalization, and insulting to teachers.

As a white male, I do not pretend to have experienced the profiling much of the world has. But Mr. Smith’s accounting of his colleagues being warier of a “Lamar” over a “Chase” is an unfortunate circumstance, one that cannot be seen as the norm in our schools. Racism and prejudice are present in every profession, so to claim that even some teachers don’t carry biases would be foolish. The shooting of young black men, while a travesty, holds no bearing on the discussion of school shootings or concealed teacher carry, and only  propagates division.

This letter rubbed me the wrong way because it is a gross overgeneralization of the fear teachers have in their classrooms today. Arming teachers with resources is the only way to battle the inherent inequalities our society has, that many propagate, and that teachers like myself attempt to change every day.

I don’t need a gun to protect my classroom with my life. The fear is not of “black or brown” students. I would protect black or white students without hesitation, and my colleagues would as well. To hear Mr. Smith’s colleagues would not is a shame for him, his school, and their district. But this is not the case in most schools, and most certainly not in any district I have worked.

We must work together, not apart, to provide teachers, students and parents with a safe, properly supplied classroom free from fear.

— Jerry Goodnight