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

Davina Agudelo was born in Miami, Florida, but she grew up in Medellín, Colombia.

"I am so grateful for my upbringing in Colombia, surrounded by mountains and mango trees, and for my Colombian family," Agudelo says. "Colombia is the place where I learned what's truly essential in life." It's also where she found her passion for the arts.

While she was growing up, Colombia was going through a violent drug war, and Agudelo turned to literature, theater, singing, and creative writing as a refuge. "Journaling became a sacred practice, where I could leave on the page my dreams & longings as well as my joy and sadness," she says. "During those years, poetry came to me naturally. My grandfather was a poet and though I never met him, maybe there is a little bit of his love for poetry within me."

In 1998, when she left her home and everyone she loved and moved to California, the arts continued to be her solace and comfort. She got her bachelor's degree in theater arts before getting certified in journalism at UCLA. It was there she realized the need to create a media platform that highlighted the positive contributions of LatinX in the US.

"I know the power that storytelling and writing our own stories have and how creative writing can aid us in our own transformation."

In 2012, she started Alegría Magazine and it was a great success. Later, she refurbished a van into a mobile bookstore to celebrate Latin American and LatinX indie authors and poets, while also encouraging children's reading and writing in low-income communities across Southern California.

Keep Reading Show less
via Pixabay

As people get older, social isolation and loneliness become serious problems. Many find themselves living alone for the first time after the death of a spouse. It's also difficult for older people to maintain friendships when people they've known for years become ill or pass away.

Census Bureau figures say that almost a quarter of men and nearly 46% of women over the age of 75 live alone.

But loneliness doesn't just affect those who reside by themselves. People can feel lonely when there is a discrepancy between their desired and actual relationships. To put it simply, when it comes to having a healthy social life, quality is just as important as quantity.

Keep Reading Show less