Donald Trump is OK with arming teachers. These teachers know there's a better way.

As survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School push to prevent gun violence, elected officials are supporting an entirely different tactic: arming teachers.

President Donald Trump suggested in a tweet on Feb. 22 that teachers with military training or experience with firearms be allowed to carry concealed weapons in the classroom. By his estimate, around 20% of American educators would pass his standards (that's about 720,000 kindergarten to 12th-grade teachers).

It'd be a lot of guns around a lot of children, but Trump thinks that armed teachers would a strong deterrent (or better yet, a "GREAT DETERRENT").


But as quickly as Trump and his ilk could advocate for this idea, teachers on the front lines advocated for something else — common sense.

Educators Olivia Bertels and Brittany Wheaton, who met online through their respective teacher Instagram accounts, launched the hashtag #ArmMeWith to share what they need in their classrooms and schools more than weapons.

"Brittany approached me immediately ... with the idea to partner up and use our respective audiences on Instagram to start a campaign to bring awareness about how actual teachers in actual classrooms feel about arming themselves and the alternative solutions that we KNOW are better options for us, but more importantly, our students," Bertels writes in an interview over e-mail. "... My desk drawers are for candy and stickers, not a gun."

Their campaign quickly went viral, with more than 7,000 posts and submissions on Instagram in a matter of days.

We cannot afford to ignore the truth about what is happening in our country. What is truly frightening is the number of people who refuse to make decisions based upon facts. It is a fact that families sent their loved ones to school and now they are planning funerals. It is a fact that futures were ended when they were just beginning. It is a fact that too many students have lost their lives in a space where they are supposed to be educated and protected. It is a fact that too many people in power are not using that power to bring about the necessary changes that could prevent things like this from happening. Far too many bullets claim our students in the streets for them to claim our students in school, too. We don’t need rhetoric when reality is working overtime. #ArmMeWith the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. • • • • • #education #teacher #teachers #teachersofinstagram #teachersfollowteachers #iteachtoo #teacherspayteachers #tpt #englishteacher #highschool #blackteachersrock #blackboyjoy #thedapperteacher #blackhistorymonth #blackhistory #armmewith

A post shared by Jon from TeachDapper 🍏👔 (@thedapperteacher) on

"Having a weapon in the school, or even the classroom, would instill unnecessary fear and anxiety," says Jonathan Avery, a secondary English teacher also known as The Dapper Teacher. "Such a drastic, constant state of preparation would more than likely make students and teachers alike feel the constant presence of the possibility of danger, and that’s no way to live."

It's no way to learn either.

Before guns and weapons, here's what teachers would like to see more of in their schools, classrooms, and communities.

1. School supplies. Because we don't ask firefighters to pay for the hoses.

2. Legislators who "get it" and are ready to listen.

3. And yes, that means politicians who aren't in the pocket of the NRA.

Because you can't have it both ways.

4. Resources to help teachers care for every student.

5. A secretary of education who is — and maybe this sounds too out there — an educator.

6. New strategies for connecting with parents so work in the classroom can continue at home and vice versa.

7. Time to teach, support, and celebrate the importance of diversity and inclusion.

#armmewith

A post shared by Andrea Childes (@theliteracyjunky) on

8. Training and resources to incorporate restorative justice methods, which are great alternatives to detentions and suspensions.

And yes, this teacher in Australia joined in to support educators over here in the States. Australia has mostly put an end to gun violence.

9. Training to better support students going through a difficult time.

10. More counselors, school psychologists, and social workers.

These licensed and trained professionals are the caring adults we need to support our students.

We already ask a lot of teachers. Now more than ever, it's time to listen.

We ask them to be educators, counselors, coaches, custodians, drivers, and more. They’re hard-working, underpaid professionals in an often thankless job. And yet, we’ve seen at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Sandy Hook, and Columbine, these brave educators will lay down their lives to protect students without hesitation. That’s because they love their field and the families they serve.

Before we ask one more thing of the educators in our community, let’s stop, listen, and hear how we can help.

"Thoughts and prayers are wonderful, but there are so many practical steps we can take. Talk to your political leaders. Voice your opinions. Keep the conversation going," Avery says. " Vote for change. And most of all, don’t get caught up in the rhetoric of either side. Common sense and human decency will lead you to what is right."

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

Keep Reading Show less