“What should have been dismissed within hours as madcap rambling by our president [arming teachers] has instead become the subject of serious policy discussions,” the President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. writes at time.com. “Within days Donald Trump’s words began to shape public policy in Florida and in Washington. Perhaps . . .
it is the logical next step in our cruel abandonment of our children to the criminal justice system that we would contemplate meting out in the schoolhouse the ultimate punishment — death — at the hands of teachers.
Please note: Black Children Will Be the Victims of Armed Teachers is not Swiftian satire. Author Sherrilyn Ifill honestly believes [racist] armed teachers will shoot black children. And she wants you to believe it too . . .
It does not take a great deal of imagination to contemplate instances in which armed teachers dealing with recalcitrant children will react out of fear and racial stereotype and discharge their weapons as they do the disciplinary code. Police officers — ostensibly trained in the use of firearms and the observation of criminal behavior — have shot and killed black children at an alarming rate, often citing their fear of the child or mistaken belief that the child was armed.
They rarely, if ever, pay the consequences. We have every reason to believe that armed teachers will react similarly and keep their jobs with impunity. Just this past weekend, the Florida Senate is charging ahead with a proposal to arm teachers anyway — over the objections of Parkland victims’ families and students. More than two dozen black lawmakers, in particular, are keenly aware that letting educators pack heat is a “recipe for disaster.” They get it.
C’mon. More than two dozen black lawmakers don’t want to let teachers use firearms to defend their students against a spree killer because they, the lawmakers, believe that armed white teachers are racists who’ll shoot “recalcitrant” black children? No ‘effing way.
You know what’s crazier? Ms. Ifill’s singing All You Need Is Love to Nikolas Cruz.
In one of the most moving segments in Notes from the Field, a Native American tribal judge, Abby Abinanti, offers wise counsel for how we should deal with our most troubled children. She says that when children are damaged and break the rules, the path isn’t to push them away, but to draw them “closer.”
It appears that many fine teachers at Stoneman Douglas and in middle school attempted to do this for Nikolas Cruz over many years. We should explore why those interventions failed and invest in services that can effectively spot and treat a child demonstrating the dysfunctions that Cruz displayed from a very young age. To bring the child closer rather than push him or her to a cycle of more violence and self-destruction.
For the sake of other children on the verge of being pushed away, this moment should be a reckoning to think long and hard about what really works to help them, to keep all children safe. But to invest instead, as our president has insisted, in turning those teachers into armed guards patrolling our classrooms would be the final act of hostility and abandonment of our nation’s children. And we will know — from the outset — that the children who will be the foremost victims of this effort will be children of color.
Nikolas Cruz wasn’t the victim of a heartless system. The children and families brutalized by Mr. Cruz’s homicidal rage were the victims of a heartless system.
A system that didn’t care enough to stop an obvious threat to public safety before he opened fire; including the FBI, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Social Services, Democratic politicians (who enacted a law barring schools from reporting anti-social behavior to the police), and the administrators of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
At the risk of seeming insensitive, there’s only one good reason Mr. Cruz’s teachers should have drawn the teen closer: to put a bullet in his brain. At the appropriate time, of course. With the appropriate tool for the job.
As for the idea that racist white teachers will shoot black students willy nilly — and get away with it thanks to institutional racism — I don’t think so. Anyone who suggests such a thing should have their ideas instantly dismissed as the ravings of a paranoid race-baiting troll. Feel free to do so below.