Dear North Carolina: Arming teachers with guns is a spectacularly bad idea.

North Carolina is proposing a law to allow teachers to carry guns in school. Here's why that's a horrible idea.

Two bills have been filed in the North Carolina state legislature that would loosen gun restrictions in schools, allow teachers to carry guns, and even pay some teachers more for doing so.

Both of the proposed laws would require training for those who want to carry guns. In the house bill, participating teachers and staff would have to complete 16 hours of active shooter training. The senate bill proposes having select teachers serve as secret "teacher resource officers" who carry firearms. The position would require Basic Law Enforcement Training, after which the teachers would be sworn in as law enforcement officers. It also includes a 5% pay increase.


If teachers were to be armed, they should definitely be trained. But no amount of training makes up for the fact that a loaded gun in a classroom full of children is a recipe for disaster.

Even police officers don't fire accurately in shoot-out situations. What makes us think civilian teachers would fare better?

Police officers and soldiers are trained extensively not only in how to handle firearms, but also in the mental and emotional realities of their jobs. And even then, trained law enforcement only have an 18% accuracy rate in high stress shoot-out situations.

So, the people who are rigorously trained and actively prepared to engage dangerous criminals as their full-time job hit their target in active shooting situations less than one in five times—and they sometimes shoot innocent bystanders. Now imagine the chaotic scene of a school shooting, with terrified children everywhere. Do we really think a teacher with a gun, who just a moment ago was teaching fractions, is going to miraculously turn into a sharpshooting hero?  

Expecting a teacher to be able to shift mental gears from teaching arithmetic to employing tactical active shooter training in a matter of seconds, while also managing a classroom of freaked out children, is expecting too much. How could we possibly think that a teacher—even one trained to fire a gun—could respond accurately and wisely in a shooting situation with a million different variables, and do so without putting students' lives in greater danger?

"Good guys with guns" create confusion for law enforcement in actual shooting situations.

Despite some individual anecdotes, the "good guy with a gun" argument has been debunked many times. According to a 2014 FBI report, active shooters that were stopped by civilians were stopped more often by good guys without guns than with them, and evidence shown that more guns does not equal fewer crimes.  

But aside from that, a "good guy with a gun" in a shooting scenario with a "bad guy with a gun" can cause confusion for law enforcement who show up to stop the bad guy. How do they know which guy-with-a-gun they're looking at?

A school shooting situation is a chaotic, highly intense scene where officers have to make split second decisions. Teachers would not only be putting themselves at greater risk by wielding a gun, but also their students. Kids tend to gravitate toward their trusted adult teacher for protection, which would mean the armed good guy, whom police might mistake for the bad guy, would likely have children around him or her.

Shooting a bad guy is traumatic enough. An officer shooting a child they're trying to save because an armed teacher created more confusion than necessary would be devastating for all involved.

Guns in schools put everyone at greater risk.

I'm a 5'5" woman. An average high schooler could overpower me if they really wanted to, and I wouldn't stand a chance against more than one. If I'm carrying a gun, what's to stop some enraged or deranged students from sneaking up and taking my firearm while I'm writing on the board? Theoretically, they wouldn't know if I was carrying, but young people aren't stupid. If teachers are allowed to carry guns, kids are going to figure out who has them. Guaranteed.

And as a parent, I for damn sure would want to know if my child's teacher was carrying a loaded gun in their classroom. I think it should be every parent's right to know if their child's teacher is armed. How is that information going to be kept secret?

And that's not even getting into the potential for accidents. What if a teacher accidentally leaves their loaded gun in the bathroom, like happened in Pennsylvania and at Stoneman Douglass in Parkland, Florida (of all places, seriously)? What about when an armed teacher or staffer accidentally shoot their guns inside the school, like happened in California and in Virginia last year?

Or what about the gun-carrying teacher who gets pushed to the brink? The teacher who feels threatened by a student, a la "stand your ground" laws, and shoots them in a fit of fear or anger? Students-teacher altercations are not terribly uncommon. Adding loaded guns to the mix? No thank you.

Teachers should be focused on teaching, not doing the job of SWAT teams and police officers.

I taught in middle schools and high schools, and it was the hardest job I've ever had. Teaching requires a level of constant focus and care that people don't realize unless they've done it. A teacher's job is to teach—to be a mentor, to share knowledge, to inspire and guide young people—and those skills requires immense dedication and attention. That's what teachers should be focused on, not on making sure they're armed and trained and ready to kill.

Some may believe that simply knowing some teachers may be armed might serve as deterrent. But having actual armed guards at Columbine and Stoneman Douglass high schools didn't deter those shooters. If someone decides to go on a killing rampage, they're not usually worried about dying themselves. It's a suicide mission, and the idea of a teacher with a gun isn't going to stop them.

There are many avenues to explore for keeping our schools safer, but putting loaded guns into our classrooms and training teachers to kill is not one we should be entertaining. The potential risks far outweigh any potential benefits to make it a reasonable option.

Kelly Clarkson and Ariana Grande duked it out on Jimmy Fallon's 'The Tonight Show.'

There are pop stars, and then there are singers. While recording studio technology can make people sound like amazing singers, the proof is in their live performances.

Kelly Clarkson and Ariana Grande took it a whole step further on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," delivering not only a jaw-dropping live performance but doing so in the form of revolving pop diva hits in an "impossible karaoke" showdown. In less than five minutes, they showed off their combined ability to nail pretty much anything, from imitating iconic singers' styles to belting out well-known songs with their own vocal stylings.

Watch this and try not to be impressed:

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True

When Deidra Mayberry was a child, she struggled with reading. Feeling embarrassed and ashamed, she did her best to hide it. And she was pretty good at hiding it. As her family moved around a lot, due to her parents' military career, she adapted and kept hiding it — making it all the way through school without anyone really noticing.

After graduating from high school, she started looking for support to improve her reading skills.

"I was turned away because I was over the age of 17, and other private options like one-on-one tutoring were financially out of reach for me."

Deidra promised that one day she'd do something to fix it. After struggling for years, and eventually finding support, she started a nonprofit to help other adults facing their own challenges with literacy. Now she's striving to help the almost 43,000,000 adults who still are struggling. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), 21 percent of adults in the United States (about 43 million) fall into the illiterate/functionally illiterate category.

For Deidra, college was the first time she experienced and understood what functional illiteracy was. Someone who is illiterate is unable to read or write at all, but someone who is functionally illiterate has some reading skills — they're just not strong enough to manage daily living and employment tasks.

She was able to graduate by taking extra summer semesters, spending long nights studying, changing her major when it got too hard, and getting help from her dad.

"I was so proud that I actually made it through college and graduated," Deidra says. "But once I started to apply for jobs, reality kicked in fast. I never truly fixed my literacy problems. Instead, I found ways to work around them in order to spare myself the embarrassment and shame that I already felt daily."

"I relied heavily on movies to teach me and give me exposure to things in life that would help me relate to others," she says. "This caused me to live a life of fear, limitations, and hopelessness."

"I felt unworthy because I knew I had this big secret — and thought if people knew, they would see that I had no value."

Deidra continued to live like this for years until she had a lightbulb moment.

"I was working so hard to hide my literacy struggle in order to make it work, but I asked myself, 'What if I worked just as hard to fix it?'"

She found the courage to tell a friend, who began tutoring her. "The hope, courage, and confidence she helped me find was the beautiful moment of empowerment that reminded me to create and provide a resource for people just like me."

That's exactly what she did. On March 12, 2020, she and another friend decided to start a nonprofit to help other adults that were functionally illiterate. And even though COVID-19 shut down businesses and sent people into lockdown the very next day, she didn't let it stop her.

"I just believed God was with me and the time was still now because people have been waiting for this," she says.

She launched Reading to New Heights, an organization that teaches adults the fundamentals of reading with one-on-one, confidential and virtual tutoring sessions with certified educators.

"The curriculum that our educators teach from allows our adult learners to revisit the fundamentals of reading and comprehension as if they are learning them for the first time," Deidra says. "Basic reading foundations such as phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, spelling, vocabulary and comprehension are exactly what adults struggling with illiteracy need in order to build competent literacy skills and fill the gaps that illiteracy causes in education."

And most importantly, these services are provided at no cost, so that anyone who needs them has access.

"Though illiteracy and functional illiteracy can affect anyone, people in low-income and underserved communities of color are more likely to be limited in education, income, and workplace advancement opportunities because of it."

"Illiteracy and functional illiteracy can be directly linked to higher prison populations, lower household incomes, and inaccessibility to quality healthcare," Deidra explains. "By committing to developing the fundamentals of reading, our adult learners overcome both the psychological and environmental limitations of illiteracy."

Since they launched, the nonprofit has been featured on Fox 4 News, which gave them the exposure they needed to grow from three adult program participants to 20 — and they hope to continue growing. They have also been accepted into an Incubator Program with the United Way, which is designed to support them while they build their business.

Deidra is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year. The donation she receives as a nominee is being awarded to her new and growing nonprofit.

"It's kind of ironic, the very thing I was ashamed of and thought I had to hide for years was the one thing that, once I shared it, not only freed me but gave me hope and provided a way to help others," Deidra says. "I love that my story has been about helping others find the courage to share and take the first step to start their literacy journey."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen. Do you know an inspiring woman like Deidra? Nominate her today!

Albert Einstein

One of the strangest things about being human is that people of lesser intelligence tend to overestimate how smart they are and people who are highly intelligent tend to underestimate how smart they are.

This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect and it’s proven every time you log onto Facebook and see someone from high school who thinks they know more about vaccines than a doctor.

The interesting thing is that even though people are poor judges of their own smarts, we’ve evolved to be pretty good at judging the intelligence of others.

“Such findings imply that, in order to be adaptive, first impressions of personality or social characteristics should be accurate,” a study published in the journal Intelligence says. “There is accumulating evidence that this is indeed the case—at least to some extent—for traits such as intelligence extraversion, conscientiousness, openness, and narcissism, and even for characteristics such as sexual orientation, political ideology, or antigay prejudice.”

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