Armed Teachers Update: Are We Safe Yet?
But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off, you've gotta ask yourself one question: What do you call an atom that has more protons than electrons?
Exciting news droppings from the front lines of education, where some folks are simply thrilled at the prospect of arming teachers so they can have shootouts with armed intruders and there will never, ever be any tragic accidents, negligent discharges, or stupid, stupid mistakes, and others aren't quite ready to take that big a step, but are coming up with alternative plans that may actually be stupider, if that's even possible! We have a couple of each today!
First off, there's this story from the Miami Herald about Sean Simpson, a chemistry teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who said in the wake of the February massacre that he'd definitely be willing to bring his concealed weapon -- he has a permit, and a Glock 9mm -- to school, to protect students, if only it were legal. Ever happy to feed our appetite for irony, the seven mad trickster figures who rule the news arranged a little coda to the story of "that one teacher at MSD who said he wanted to concealed carry at school": On Sunday, Mr. Simpson left his gun behind in a public restroom at Deerfield Beach Pier, having forgotten to return it to its holster after he finished using the facilities.
Oh, but yes, it gets dumber:
By the time the chemistry teacher realized his mistake, the Glock was already in the hands of a drunk homeless man who had picked it up and fired. The bullet hit a wall.
Simpson was able to grab the gun away from the vagrant, Joseph Spataro, who was charged with firing a weapon while intoxicated and trespassing.
As for the MSD teacher, he was arrested and charged with failing to safely store a firearm, a second-degree misdemeanor. Simpson posted a $250 cash bond and was released.
Fortunately this could never happen in a school setting, since of course armed teachers will all be volunteers who are very proficient and well-trained. Florida has approved $67 million for such training, which we hope will include a reminder to wash your hands and never leave your loaded Glock out.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post advises us that in Pennsylvania, the Millcreek Township School District in Erie County has a truly novel approach to defending students from school shooters: They're arming teachers with itty-bitty replicas of baseball bats, the little 16-inch ones you can buy at souvenir stands, as a "symbolic gesture" to remind them that as a last resort they can fight back against an attacker.
A district armed its teachers with baseball bats, urging them to fight back in a mass shooting https://t.co/gxACtGXqe9— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) April 12, 2018
When we first saw WaPo's tweet about the story, we mistakenly assumed the teachers would get full-sized bats, which are useless against the high-velocity rounds fired by semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15, but which we suppose could be used to conk a shooter on the noggin if you lived long enough to catch them while changing magazines. But no, these itty-bitty bats are for motivation, or something. Frankly, district superintendent William Hall sounds a bit embarrassed about the whole thing, now. The school developed a training plan for teachers that added fighting back as a last option -- after escaping, or locking the doors, getting down, and hiding -- and that's where the bats came in:
To drive the point home, the district ordered $1,800 worth of the baseball bats and handed them out to teachers at a recent in-service training session about school safety.
“We want to change the culture in our district to incorporate best practices,” Hall said. “The little miniature bat was more of a symbolic gesture. … Unfortunately, it might come down to a situation where it’s one on one. It’s about educating people that you may need to find something in that immediate environment to protect yourself.”
The itty bitty bats will be kept locked away during the school day to prevent tomfoolery, but teachers in the middle of a school shooting should certainly remember to unlock whatever storage space they're in and grab their weapon of last resort. Or maybe a magic feather. Or how about a big can of creamed corn, instead?
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.