Val strives to stay off the soapbox. To leave her political hat hanging on the heavy wooden coat rack just inside the door of her mother's brick split-level abode. Why take a stand when sitting on the sidelines is so much more comfortable? But today, Val must say this about that.
I found out at the faculty lunch table that my colleagues see nothing wrong with being shot at work! Really. We were discussing news of recent days, and the subject of a local school district's inservice program came up. Four teachers called the courthouse to complain that they did not want to be hit with plastic projectiles from an air-powered firearm. That they were calling the prosecuting attorney to find out their rights. The school canceled the drill when officials learned of the complaint. A spokesman for the district stated that teachers had several chances to opt out of the training.
Here's my issue. We had an inservice presentation on such a scenario. Nobody shot us with plastic pellets. I think we still got the message. Do we bring in those swamp boats with giant fans to blow fake wind down the hall during our tornado drills? No. But we understand the urgency, and know where to go. Do we set off smoke canisters and crank the thermostat and flash strobe lights like crackling flames during our fire drills? No. But we understand the urgency, and know where to go. Do we blast cracking-crumbling noises and rattle windows and doors and knock ceiling tiles loose and tip over bookcases during our earthquake drills? No. But we understand the urgency, and know where to go.
I think that district crossed the line. If their faculty was given opportunities to opt out, why didn't they opt out? Why did they find it necessary to seek guidance for possibly filing a complaint? What's the point of scheduling this simulation if all members are not expected to participate? I smell something fishy.
The articles says this training was in response to recent legislation:
According to the Missouri Revised Statutes Section 170.315, which
established the Active Shooter and Intruder Response Training for
Schools Program (ASIRT), "each school district and charter school may,
by July 1, 2014, include in its teacher and school employee training a
component on how to properly respond to students who provide them with
information about a threatening situation and how to address situations
in which there is a potentially dangerous or armed intruder in the
school. Training may also include information and techniques on how to
address situations where an active shooter is present in the school or
on school property."
Notice that it says MAY include. Not MUST include. Nowhere does it mention that teachers must be given eye protection and shot with an Airsoft gun's plastic pellets. Yes, by all means, run drills every year with the students and teachers, just like the tornado, fire, earthquake, and intruder drills. Even call it by its name, Active Shooter Drill. Actually shooting the teachers seems to be taking it a bit far. For those who cry that this is to make the situation realistic...let's remember that the students are not there on inservice day. So how realistic could it be? Who are the teachers trying to protect?
At our lunch table, my colleagues did not feel this was inappropriate. They were of the belief that those pellets wouldn't hurt much. No harm done. It was just a drill.
I'm sorry. I refuse to be the frog simmering in the pot while the water boils, not noticing my slow demise. I choose to be the frog dropped into that boiling pot, and jumping out immediately because I know something is wrong.
Something is wrong when drills are held using teachers as targets for real projectiles. Wake up! Let's get hoppin'. Next they'll be making us shoot back.
We are teachers, not targets. Teachers, not hired guns.
Here's something scary. Let's drive all the students down to the police station, and make the law enforcement officials teach them!