Tuesday, June 10, 2014

#WeirdEd Week 9: School Safety

***Fair Warning: This will probably be a more sober than normal chat. I'm struggling to make it fun. I don't think I'll be successful.***

Today (Tuesday, 6/10/14) there was a shooting at a high school in Portland. One student was killed.

The shooter also died. It took almost no time.

It wasn't the first school shooting this year.

It wasn't the first school shooting this month, that would be the shooting at Seattle Pacific University on the 5th.

We all know the only reason it might be the last school shooting of the month is because most schools are out for summer break, or will be soon.

I can't not talk about this. It's how I mourn and how I process.

I conceived #WeirdEd to be a place where I tackled topics other edchats don't, predominantly though a sideways, skewed, fun lens. Teachers take ourselves very seriously, and we take the profession very seriously. And we should, it's an important job. But edchats needed to lighten up. That's what #WeirdEd is for.

But #WeirdEd is also mine. It does, has, and will continue to act at least partially as a soapbox for me. I've already had topics that are only topics because they are close to my heart. That's how I plan to keep the chat fresh and interesting.

So this week I want to talk school safety. Honestly, I really want to talk guns, gun rights, and gun
restrictions. But this is an edchat. I can't focus so tightly. If I did it wouldn't be a chat, like all of the previous #WeirdEd chats have been, full of sharing ideas and bonding and cross-pollination. It would be an hour long screed no one wants to be a part of.

#WeirdEd this week will be about how we keep our students safe at school. What are the dangers, immediate and hidden? What can we as teachers do? What can we as caring humans do? At what point does personal politics intersect with the good of the whole? Do the fences we see springing up around schools help? What is our job and what is our choice and do we really have a choice? 

I want to try and keep it teacher-centric. Yes, there are Big Picture things we can do. Laws and legislation. We'll go there a little. But small picture, in your classroom, school, district, what can we do?

I'm going to ask if you think teachers should be allowed to carry on campus. I do not. I think that's the worst idea since giving Robert Orci control of Star Trek. I think it will only cause more death, more pain, more panic. But while this is my soapbox it is our chat.

That chat is probably going to be full of tough answers people feel strongly about. I must stress that everyone at #WeirdEd is safe. There will be no bullying, no ganging up, no attacking other people. I don't think my #WeirdEd family would do that, but this is one of those topics that makes people different. I'll ban and block anyone who violates our safety.

The only way to start making things better is to confront the problem. I think there will be a question that asks you to ask a question. Teachers need to come together on this issue. For ourselves and our kids. Not teacher's unions and not ed-lobbyists and policy makers. We need to come together as a profession and acknowledge that this is becoming a situation which is untenable. Terrorists who attack schools, and yes attacking a school is an act of terror, let's not call them anything else, are real. I don't want to be afraid. I spit in the face of someone who wants to hurt me and my kids. I don't know if we can make a difference with one chat, but we can come together to mourn, to seek strength from one another, and to have a real, actual, serious conversation.

Next week we'll talk about something exceedingly silly. I promise.

I don't normally do this, but here are the planned Qs for tonight. I want anyone who wants the time to have the time to think about their answers. The Qs might change slightly, but these are 90% final.

#WeirdEd Q1 Let’s get it out early. There was another shooting Tuesday at a HS in Portland. In 140, how does this make you feel?

#WeirdEd Q2 We know the names of a few tragedies. Columbine. Sandy Hook. Should we know all the names? Is that important?

#WeirdEd Q3 Would you describe your specific school as a safe place for students NORMALLY, not under unexpected crisis conditions?

#WeirdEd Q4 What makes your school safe against attack? Would you want to work at and let Ss go to a school that is also 100% protected?

#WeirdEd Q4.5 Is 100% protected from shooters/attackers possible? What’s reasonable?

#WeirdEd Q5 Should teachers be allowed to be armed on campus? Should ANYBODY? What if they are concealed carry licensed?

#WeirdEd Q6 What real life steps can we take to make ourselves and our students safer from attacks on our school? Activism?

#WeirdEd Q7 Open forum. Share thoughts, experiences, mourning, venting, fears. We need an honest expression.

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