Friday, March 7, 2014

The Fine Line On This Slippery Slope Has Been Crossed

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!


  1. Sssh. Don't speak of this again. I don't want my district getting any ideas.

    (And by the way, I got shot by a pellet gun once. My son said it wouldn't hurt.

    It did.)


  3. Aw shucks, why not go to the nearest paint ball shoot 'em up and arm the teachers, too? I'm sure there are a few administrators who would be targeted. This drill is ridiculous! I'm with you, froggy.

  4. When i was a teacher i thought drills like this were a waste of time, but the times have changed and now I think any preparation is warranted provided it doesn't traumatize children in the process. Its a dangerous world out there and our schools and children are being targeted. It is sadly rewarding to learn of all the teachers who have given the ultimate sacrifice to protect their students. Heroes to be sure.

  5. Sioux,
    Maybe cooler heads will prevail in your district, and only dyed-red-haired teachers will be pelleted. You can always dash into the faculty restroom and change your tresses under the sink faucet before the ammunition starts to fly.

    I suppose your son was only getting even for all the times you told him, "Take this medicine. It doesn't taste bad."

    Thank you, my fellow hot-water hopper.

    What it's teaching teachers is to run like not-heaven to escape, and forget about students who need protection. Or else the message is to strap on your protective goggles if there's a shooter, and stay right there, because it won't really hurt all that much if you get hit.

    All schools around here do the shooter drills with the students, except perhaps elementary classes where the kids would be scared. Preparation is a regular drill like tornado/fire/earthquake, so students know what to do in case of an intruder. Preparation, in my opinion, is not shooting teachers at an inservice with pellet guns.

    Funny how kids these days don't have to do the duck-and-cover drills like we did as kids. I guess that was really futile, or we're no longer at risk of nuclear attack.