Boycott School, Kids

Millions of kids took to the streets yesterday to protest gun violence in schools (maybe in general?). What did I think of that? I thought they should be out having fun and there should not be guns in schools. That’s what I thought. And, yeah, I got the other message, “But, Martha, there ARE guns in school,” but that really didn’t change my perspective. If I were a parent today (or apparent) I wouldn’t send my kid to school. THAT’S the protest that needs to be made. For that matter, if I were a teachers’ union, I would recommend a mass walk out until teachers and students can KNOW they’re safe. I’d litigate to make the gubmint pay for it.

When I was a teenager, a gunman climbed up a tower at the University of Texas and opened fire on the students walking below. That happened. I had nightmares about it and thought about it every time I ate my sack lunch on the lawn in front of the library at the University of Colorado Boulder. I knew I was a sitting duck with a PBJ and Fritos.

It was shortly before noon on a sweltering Monday morning, Aug. 1, 1966, when architectural engineering student and Marine-trained sniper Charles Whitman climbed to the observation deck of the 27-story clock tower in the heart of UT’s flagship Austin campus, armed with rifles, pistols and a sawed-off shotgun. (source)

Fifty-two years ago. They guy didn’t have an automatic weapon or a semi-automatic weapon (with or without bump stocks). He had a small arsenal and he was well trained.

A young student and scoutmaster, firing with a Marine sniper’s cold and deadly accuracy, killed 13 persons Monday from high in the University of Texas tower after slaying his wife and mother* with knife and gun.

In an hour and a half of terror in the Texas capital, he also wounded 31 persons.

Two policemen ended the carnage by climbing to a platform above the sniper, Charles Joseph Whitman, 24, and killing him with six shots from a revolver and two blasts from a shotgun loaded with deer slugs.

Fifty years is a LONG time. I believe that if the American people really WANTED to do something about this, they would have done it. They don’t want to do anything about it. Other things matter more. That being the case, our educational system — which was pretty rotten anyway — is dead.

No kid should return to school after spring break until high levels of security — as in the airport in Tel Aviv — are installed in their schools. Since we are helpless to do anything about guns in this culture, that kind of security is necessary. It’s OK to make that choice, but it’s necessary to follow through.

While that is being installed (paid for by the NRA) teachers can rethink the curricula they’re forced to teach, the bullshit of standardized tests, limited recess, mindless memorization and they can stand up to the big publishing companies that are making bank on the current system and say, “No. We want to teach in a way that responds to our actual students, identifies their needs and meets them. We want school to be challenging, engaging, meaningful. We want to teach them HOW to learn as much (at least) as we want them to succeed on a dumbass exam. If you can respond to that, more power to you. Meanwhile, we’ll put our own curricula together and teach it as we — professional educators — know how. Go peddle your papers elsewhere.”

*his wife and mother were, presumably, two different people. Grammar matters.

P.S. I deleted the paragraph in which I used the word “swallow” I guess it has been swallowed by my editing.

30 thoughts on “Boycott School, Kids

  1. The only thing our government understands it money and power. The only way to make change is to hit them in the pocketbook. Every day a child misses school the state losses money. I am with you on this.

      • I so get it and as a resident of Florida, the state with possibly the loosest gun control, I think it should happen. Our Governor and Republican Marco Rubio are in the pocket of the NRA.

        • When CA tightened its gun control laws and started making schools in bad neighborhoods physically more difficult to get into, things improved a LOT. I know because I lived in the highest crime neighborhood in San Diego. They put a cop shop in what had been the local supermarket and plowed down a few blocks of dilapidated houses and built an elementary school surrounded by bars (decorative, but…) and there was a cop at every entrance checking kids as they went in. Everyone felt safer and the school became a community magnet, hosting safe halloween and December holiday parties. Gun crimes went down radically within 6 months of these changes.

          • We need security at our schools. CA has done a lot and you folks do not seem to have fallen under the spell of the swamp. It’s very different here. The answer here is put guns in the hands of teachers. Makes me want to vomit.

            • I don’t live in CA now and my experience has little relevance to rural So Colorado. Having been a teacher, and physically threatened a few times by students (college and university), I’m glad I didn’t have a gun. That would happen, ultimately. A teacher WOULD shoot a student and it could be self-defense, but who would believe that? MUCH better that I could call security and have the protection of people trained in law enforcement. Arming teachers is totally the STUPIDEST of stupid ideas.

              • It is! My good friend, a teacher, has been threatened, kick, cursed, you name it and has no real recourse or any one to turn to that can stop what’s happening with our kids and their disrespect for authority. When I was in school, the last thing you wanted was for the teacher to be upset with you! What you mention is valid and in addition if there were a shooting and the police arrive and there is someone holding a gun, they would probably shoot them…and it could be the teacher. Chills.

                • Absolutely. I went to class with my pepper spray handy — and IT was bought for me by my office mate, a Vietnam vet who knew of the kinds of things I sometimes faced in the classroom (like being pushed against the wall by an agry student with his hands on my throat — an Iraq war vet with PTSD). I think the culture of fear that has emerged (and blossomed and become normal) since 9/11 has a lot to do with the way people think about guns today. I think we need to acknowledge the reality that guns aren’t going away in our society any time soon and admit to being a violent, gun society and protect our kids from the world we’ve made. 😦

  2. Agree with you on the education system. But I don’t want schools to be fortresses. Something else needs to change in our society.

    • I don’t think what you want or what I want has anything to do with anything. I think it’s OK for our schools to be airports. As for society, WE are society. WE need to recognize — realistically — what WE are. Schools in the bad neighborhoods in CA are already fortresses (and have been, for a long time). Should that be the way things are? No. But it’s a lot more important that kids are free to learn than that there are bars around the campus and security guards check each kid who comes in. That might be just the ticket to get people to change.

  3. An interesting commentary on the improvements in San Diego when a safe environment was placed in its center. That the school became a magnet for community activities speaks volumes! That also seems to be happening in the Compton and Watts areas of LA, where Community Policing has been implemented.

  4. So as a transition (while I hold to my fantasy that it is possible to get over our nationwide gun fetish), setting up school security so that it is “safe enough” to learn makes sense, as do your many suggestions on changing the test and teaching system. Teach learning and thinking over content (math, reading skills are of course important, but reason and logic even more so.)

  5. It is good to have a fantasy life. We both know ain’t gonna happen.

    If we would arm teachers, give ’em bear spray. That would ruin an active shooter’s day without killing the kid behind the wall behind the shooter.

  6. Home schooling and private tuition must be big there. If it is not, it soon will be. Unfortunately, this disadvantages the most disadvantaged. I hope things change, because it must have a terrible impact on the American economy, not to mention people’s lives.

    • I don’t think it has any impact on anything except the lives of the kids who are killed and their families and, for a while, the schools they attend. If it had any impact at all it wouldn’t be happening any more. But the anti-gun people are “Oh oh oh this is wrong!” not “How do we keep our kids safe when this is the world we actually have.” The sentimental idealism of the American left makes me almost as sick as does the ruthless greed, sentimental nostalgia and “me first” mentality of the American right.

  7. I whole-heartedly agree. Not just about the guns, which is horrible enough, but about the curriculum which teaches nothing to no one. These days, my goal is often to get through a day without thinking much about anything. Because everything is simply awful. We are living in a nightmare and we can’t seem to wake up.

    • Me too. What I love is when someone tells me (in response to this very practical and workable idea for making schools safe) that “our society needs to change.” How impotent that is, how obvious and how irrelevant. I think the fact that those who COULD haven’t seen this obvious option is proof that our educational system doesn’t teach logic. Unless, of course, we’d rather have martyrs and marching than solutions.

      The NRA isn’t going to change. The pro-gun people aren’t going to change. Any rational human being would say, “Well, OK, what CAN we change? What’s IN our power?” All the little kids that went to the elementary school in my neighborhood had their back packs checked by security guards before they could come into the school yard. The school yard is surrounded by bars that look like sculpture. The only way to get into the campus is through locked and guarded gates. It was built in the 90s during the height of gun action (drive bys, etc.) in my hood. It’s around a courtyard. All the walls that face the street are bullet proof. The parents came together and were involved in the design. It doesn’t look like a jail. It’s very beautiful.

Comments are closed.