Public school teachers and administrators are everything that’s wrong with education today.

There are six fewer of them who will show up for work on Monday.

The principal and a school psychologist were killed while running towards the gunman, while a 27-year old first-grade teacher’s body was found shielding her students.

All of the adults murdered yesterday were women.  I want to hear more about their heroism.


19 thoughts on “Public school teachers and administrators are everything that’s wrong with education today.

  1. The psychologist and the principal were apparently in a conference when they heard the first gunshots (says another administrator). They ran *towards* the sound of the weapon. Unarmed. Without Kevlar. And died trying to stop it all. Unbelievable courage. Seriously. Think a CEO would have done that if he’d heard the sound of a .223 coming from the cubicles down the hall?


  2. Wow–thanks Chris. That rant actually has lots of links to the things the haters have said about schoolteachers, so it’s much more worthwhile than this post.

    Lance, that’s exactly what I thought, in addition to wondering if I’d have the courage to do what they did.


  3. Thank you for drawing attention to the teachers, principal, and school counselor — their deaths seem mostly drowned out in the focus on the deaths of the children, and yet there is no difference. All died senseless, unnecessary deaths yesterday.


  4. I still think reminding people that the school psychologist and Principal exhibited such bravery without weapons or armor is important. Not many people have the courage or instinct to charge into gunfire to save others.


  5. This — and I’m sharing this without citation, because it’s too damn good to wait to know who said it:

    “So I’m a teacher. According to conservative orthodoxy, I’m a parasite on the public’s dime who is only interested in indoctrinating the precious children of America into communism or atheism or whatever.

    I can’t be trusted to have any control over the curriculum I teach. I can’t be trusted to fairly and impartially evaluate my students, let alone my colleagues. I can’t be trusted to have collective bargaining rights. I can’t be trusted to have an objective view of governmental policy when it comes to my own profession.

    But they’ll trust me to keep a gun in a room filled with children.

    Even the cynicism-producing neurons of my prefrontal cortex can’t wrap themselves around this kind of stupid bullshit.”


  6. I’m with you on the teachers. What’s amazing is that they went on automatic pilot, without instructions, and did their best to protect children. This is taken for granted though: they are elementary teachers, women, just like mothers, not professionals.

    Tonight I had dinner with a colleague, whose partner is a gun collector/ life member of the NRA (as well as otherwise left-libertarian). I didn’t know this when the conversation started. And it was interesting – needless to say he only wanted to talk about the cultural stuff. But if, as Historiann noted in a comment on the last post , “From my perspective, what’s wrong with this country is the fact that gun ownership has for 400 years been claimed as a privilege of white manhood. Overwhelmingly, it’s white men who believe they are entitled to use guns in these acts of terrible violence..”, then what do we do to change that. The gun laws are clearly only one piece of the puzzle. But also, how do we stop young men in trouble from thinking that killing lots of people is the way to solve anything? My dinner companion, having pooh-poohed gun laws (after all, a guy in China snapped, so that’s the problem) wanted to ban violence in movies and video games – for someone who is a hunter, the unthinking-ness of these was truly shocking. (and the irony of abandoning the first amendment while valorizing the second was not lost on me.) How *do* you change cultural models of manhood? Any ideas?


  7. To some extent, I think it has to happen in the cradle. Sometimes the old dinosaurs just need to become extinct. People used to feel about seatbelts the way many feel about gun safety, so widespread gun availability needs to be problematized and stigmatized like drunk driving and smoking. The murderer’s mother was killed by her own guns–why weren’t they locked up in a safe? I also wonder how the culture of manhood in this country works against troubled men seeking out the help they need–not just inside themselves, but also in terms of family and friends seeking out help on their behalf.

    Funny thing about the stabbings in China: parents have hospitalized children, not children in the morgue. That’s the difference between knives and semi-automatic weapons–stabbing is potentially survivable, whereas few 6-year olds can survive 11 bullets each.


  8. Even more amazing to me are the conversations about how all of these tragedies could have been prevented if teachers were ARMED. I’m embarrassed to say that at least one of my colleagues subscribes to this view (so much for the liberal academy).


  9. I feel much the same way about armed teachers that I do about armed pilots – they have very specific and important jobs to do in a stressful environment full of innocent bystanders. If police officers and soldiers frequent miss their targets and hit innocent bystanders, why would you expect that someone whose job and training aren’t focused on combat to be able to effectively protect people? Given the statistics about how often people are injured by their own guns, why would we introduce that element into classrooms?

    At the same time, the idea that I might have to teach in a college classroom with armed student makes me very unhappy. I can’t imagine teaching on a campus like CU-Boulder (or the state university system in Michigan) that allows students to have weapons at their disposal. Even the students who advocated for it at the University of Alabama by wearing empty holsters left me feeling uncomfortable. With the aggressive attitudes I’ve seen (mostly male) students take toward faculty and graduate students (usually young women), it seems like a recipe for disaster.


  10. Pingback: Gender, family life, and gun-fueled mass murder : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present

  11. cgeye–thanks for that link! The original post is a totally awesome rant the rest of you should read, too, by Dave Brockington. LGM liked the comment you quote above so much they made it their “comment of the day.”

    It’s totally amazing to live in a country that has tolerated and acted on the “rights” of non-smokers to live and work in smoke-free environments, but which can’t have a conversation about the rights of the citizenry to be free of fear or gun-fueled violence at work, school, etc.


  12. And Chris: it’s not just CU-Boulder. The state Supreme Court has ruled that no campus can ban guns, so it’s an issue on my campus too. Now, unless and until they install metal detectors and frisk everyone before they’re permitted on campus, banning guns from campus is more a rhetorical than an effective policy maneuver. But, still: I know that a student of mine in at least one class was armed.

    Here’s the even crazier thing: it’s illegal to bring pot onto college campuses or onto federal property (government buildings, national parks and forests, etc.), while carrying and brandishing guns is nice’n’legal in all of these places.


  13. Pingback: Wrung out. | Historiann

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