National School Walkout Day

National School Walkout

Today, April 20, 2018, students and educators across the country are participating in the National School Walkout. This day is all about finding ways to secure our schools, and help them be safe learning environments. That’s all any of us want to be, is to keep schools as a safe, sacred place.


There are a lot of politics involved, and although I don’t shy away from discussing what I feel and believe, that isn’t what this post is about. I’m not focused on any particular bill, or people fighting for their second amendment right.


If you believe in something, fight for it. So, that’s what I’m doing.

What is the problem in schools?

The problem is we are not always safe in schools. I am a high school teacher in an urban district. This is not a black and white problem, but the facts are that my students face violence at a much higher rate than students in suburban schools.


However, the violence outside is not the only threat students are facing. For the most part, many of our students come to school for two hot meals, and because it is a safe environment. It is 8 hours a day that the students feel safe.


My first year of teaching, I had a student that would come to school everyday and do nothing but sleep. As his teacher, I was frustrated and didn’t understand why he would come to school and only sleep. It wasn’t until later, when I had a conversation with him and the school psychologist when I learned that he can’t sleep at home. There are shootings in his apartment building regularly, and his mom’s boyfriend abuses his mom, so he doesn’t sleep at home in case he needs to protect his mom.


School is his safe place. Until it isn’t.

Even today, on this day where we are having a national conversation around gun violence in schools, there was a shooting in Florida just this morning, causing districts to cancel the planned walk out because even today, students aren’t safe to have this demonstration to spark a conversation.

How do we solve gun violence in schools?

I don’t have an answer to solving gun violence in schools. I do know the answer is not to arm me, as a teacher. I watched a news report with my students that mentioned possibly arming teachers. I had many responses.


The first student’s response was, “Hell no. Y’all would shoot us!”


The next student’s response was, “I would take the gun from you and start shooting everyone.”


The responses became grimmer and bleeker. The thought of the teachers being armed had some students afraid to come to school, and rightfully so. I’m a teacher and I see many of my colleague’s tempers towards the students and I’d be fearful with them with a weapon, because I fear for them around students alone without one.


What can you do?


I don’t know how to solve this issue of gun violence and how it affects our schools, but I do know that having the conversation is a start. I know that having many people come together with a common goal is a great way to come about real change that is good for many.


Although everyone won’t be satisfied with whatever solution can help our communities have safer schools, I think we can all agree that we need to provide our future generations with the safety and security they need while they are getting their education.


Writing your local congressman about holding town halls so that there can be a discussion around this issue would be a great start. But talking isn’t the only solution. We also need action to come from these discussions. We can have all the good ideas in the world, but actually getting people to put action behind their words is the only way we can actually have true change begin to take place.


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