I’ve heard a lot of ideas thrown around in the last couple weeks since the tragedy in Florida for a solution to the issue facing our schools and our society in regards to school shootings. While some make sense to me, some just seem to be said because they sound good but have no way of working. One of these “solutions” has come from our commander in chief himself to arm teachers. Not only does this go against the freedoms in our constitution that we could choose to own a firearm or not, but it goes against the majority of why teachers do what they do.

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman wrote in his book, On Combat, that as humans there are sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs.  Without getting too much into detail it basically sums up that the majority of us are sheep, which isn’t a bad thing, going about our lives and only coming into contact with the wolves or evils of society when something goes wrong or tragic. Thankfully, there are also sheepdogs who meet the wolves on an almost daily basis and are willing to do anything and everything to protect the greater number of sheep.

I am married to a sheepdog. He has multiple firearms in his possession at work to combat any evil he may be forced to face and wears a badge every day of his life. I am not a sheepdog. I may be more aware of the existence of wolves due to my husband but at best I am a survivalist sheep. Educators as a group are not often sheepdogs, they are there to nurture and grow children, and should never be forced with the choice of having to kill someone or be a human shield to protect those children. Not to even get into the logistics of how illogical it would be to spend funds to train and arm teachers and offer them a bonus for this. Arming teachers is simply not the answer. 

So what is? I’ll admit that a ban on specific types of sporting rifles such as AR-15s may sound great, but the reality is even if they were outlawed today and production halted that wouldn’t erase the millions that exist in our country currently. Depending on what source you use there currently estimated 85-90 guns (of all types) per every 100 people in America today. It sounds good but it’s also simply not feasible. Yes, we can take measures to make it harder to purchase a firearm in our country. Many of the recent mass shootings have been done with legally obtained weapons, even in cases when red flags should have stopped it from happening. Yes, we can take measures to increase our understanding and care of people with mental illnesses but will it fix it all?

Honestly, the particular questions that hurts my teacher heart are how do we protect schools and really why are schools being targeted so often?

First, we must look at why schools? I feel like this question is not being asked or dealt with enough. Schools were once a place of solace for all children but especially those of broken homes, but as education has shifted its focus to assessments and standards the child has been lost. Teachers are so weighed down with data that the balance of educating the whole child isn’t possible. We do need reform badly but it’s education reform that our children and future need more than anything.  How can we expect to arm teachers and expect them to be willing to kill or be killed when we can’t even give them training in teaching strategies or pay them living wages to meet the cost of living in the towns and cities in which they live?

Let’s not forget tourism lobbyist groups that have led to the continued school calendar that has been proven time and time again to not benefit student learning and development rather than the full year models of most of the rest of the developed world. We need more teachers, smaller class sizes, more counselors, and a change in how students tested, what they are tested on, and how this impacts a school’s funding. Next, we have to realize that change doesn’t happen overnight and this issue and threat is real. We must not ignore the issue, we protect banks with guards because there are robberies, we protect airports, government buildings, and courthouses. We need to protect schools, not by expecting more out of teachers but by using this as an opportunity in our community to bring in law enforcement in a positive light for our students. I have been in education for eight years, all at Title I schools and I’ve seen the positive impact this can have if handled correctly. 

I joined the education field to make a difference in the lives of students. I have stayed in education because I truly feel that every student deserves access to education and quality teachers. I don’t look at students and try to figure out if they are a threat or who is the threat and I could never be successful at my job if I did. 

Kimberly Peña
Hello AMB readers! I'm Kim, a working momma married to the love of my life, Marco. We welcomed our joy boy, Thomas, in 2013 who is hearing impaired and full of energy! I am a history teacher by day and blogger by night. I love staying busy and always have about a dozen projects in my head at any given moment. I love spending time with my boys, creating inquiry based learning units, and blogging about cooking, motherhood, marriage, and womanhood here and at www.thehillcountrywoman.com.


  1. It is not important for every teacher to be armed, but it is important to remove the “gun free zone” signs which invite the mentally disturbed. There are many teachers who handle guns regularly and would feel completely comfortable having a concealed gun to protect others. This alone would help to prevent the crazy people from attacking schools. A recent survey showed that 98% of the gun attacks take place in “gun free zones”. Why? Because these people seek out places where they know no one will be able to fire back…they are cowards.


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