- Analia Llorente
- BBC News World
The shooting attack on an elementary school in Uvalde, in the US state of Texas, which left 21 dead – 19 children and two teachers – on May 24, reignited the debate on possible measures to end violence in educational institutions in that country. country.
The Ohio State Congress reacted quickly and passed a controversial law on June 1 that will allow teachers and other staff to carry guns at school.
The rule overturns a 2021 state Supreme Court decision that required teachers to receive weapons training equivalent to that received by law enforcement officers.
If the governor signs the law, teachers who voluntarily choose to carry guns in schools will only be required to complete 24-hour training.
Lawmakers also approved a $105 million package aimed at preventing school shootings.
BBC News Mundo, the BBC’s Spanish-language news service, asked Puerto Rican professor Rosa Morales Cruz, who has taught Spanish as a second language for a decade in Cleveland, Ohio, what she thinks of these policies. Cruz is also the executive director for educational issues for the city’s teachers’ union.
BBC News World — After this latest shooting in Texas, Ms. Are you afraid of teaching?
Rosa Morales Cruz — No, because we create a positive environment at school. We take responsibility to avoid these situations by building a good connection with our students. So I’m not afraid of them attacking the school.
It is very terrible and unfortunate what happened in Texas, but I believe that a connection between the community, the school and the students is necessary for them to feel good and episodes like this are avoided.
My fear is that we don’t feel safe in general. These events did not just take place in schools. They are happening in the cinema, in the squares, in the malls, in the churches, in the hospitals, in the places where you have to feel safe.
BBC News Mundo — Is arming teachers a good solution?
cross — Under no circumstances.
Arming teachers is a bad idea. We are already concerned with meeting the standards required by the State, which are, for example, ensuring that students have an adequate reading level.
Our duty as teachers is to educate students. If they had told me that to be a teacher you have to be armed, I would not have become a teacher.
Today we teachers have become psychologists, parents of our students, we cook when they are hungry, we are doctors… The teacher’s role is not simply that of a teacher. They keep demanding more and more of us and it drains us.
It is very sad because the teacher is already asked so much, and now we are also forced to carry a gun.
The government is quick to put together a plan and provide the resources necessary to have this training, but not the resources necessary for our students to have the resources for a good education.
We’re talking about training individuals in an educational field to wield deadly weapons. If I wanted to train to kill or protect, I would have gone to the military.
We already have a protocol in case something like this happens and we know what to do. But carrying a gun during the hours we are in our educational environment is dangerous.
Can you imagine a student stealing our gun or fighting with us to get it? Or if we leave the gun unattended for a moment and someone else takes it? Or that the school can become a battleground?
You cannot fix a weapon problem with more weapons.
Telling teachers they need to have guns to protect students and prevent mass shootings is like telling victims to put on more clothes so they don’t get raped.
The problem is not the victim. The problem is the law we have by which people acquire guns. Why can an 18 year old student buy guns but not alcohol?
BBC News Mundo — If the governor enacted this law, Ms. whether she would feel obligated to carry a gun?
cross — Not. I would stop being a teacher.
And that would force me to take my kids out of public school and put them in a private school where I know there is a security system with people trained to protect my kids and that the teachers can teach and give them the education they deserve.
It is so sad that our young people today see so much gun activity in the community and now they also have to see their teacher carrying guns.
I don’t think it makes a student feel safe, but it does make them wonder: why is he carrying a gun? Will I be safe at this school?
BBC News World — Mrs. Do you know teachers who support this idea of teaching armed classes?
cross — Not. I’m part of the teachers’ union and the school district’s executive committee, and no teacher is willing to have guns in school.
Even those who have guns in their homes say they don’t feel safe bringing their guns here.
I believe that we would not be concerned with educating our students, but concerned with our weapon. They are a distraction in an environment that should be positive and welcoming.
(The reasoning is) I carry a gun because if someone comes, I will protect you. But that person must not come to my classroom. The entry and exit areas are the ones that must be protected. Police are needed around schools to ensure this does not happen.
BBC News Mundo — And why do you think that for many people, including legislators, arming teachers is the solution?
cross – Recently, there was a shooting at a hospital. Did they ask doctors to start carrying weapons? Not. Hospitals received more police and security.
Why do these rulers like weapons and seek a quick solution without studies, without analysis and without evidence?
They make laws that don’t affect them. They are not the people inside classrooms listening to the stories and traumas our students experience.
BBC News World — What Ms. would you ask the authorities?
cross — I ask government authorities to implement this program that they are imposing on teachers in the security department of the education system.
There are no funds for school resources, but there are funds for weapons training. That they give this training and license to bear arms to the people in charge of security. That’s the solution.
Everyone has a responsibility. The responsibility for keeping schools safe does not lie with teachers.
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