Op-Ed: Use communication to stop violence

Suggesting we arm our children’s teachers to eliminate school violence as Brian Schoeneman wrote March 15 (“Gun bans not always right answer,” p. 4) is like saying: our cities are crowded, so we should start deporting the excess population. Both proposals defy sensibility and pain the logical mind. In a refusal to recognize that some gun waving lunatic would believe the latter, my brain attempted to crawl out of my skull. Folks, we are clearly missing the point. Guns are not the illness, but merely the syringe used to transport the disease of violence into our nation’s schools.

Children who commit these crimes are sick and disturbed; flipping the extremity coin for or against firearms does nothing to solve this. While I certainly do not have all the answers, I do know this: violent children are slipping through the cracks and the schools, parents and friends are all missing it.

The atrophy of personal communication is at the root of this problem. People are just too busy being busy, and when a shot rings out and a body falls, everyone looks around for someone to blame rather than ask why. Something is not connecting anymore in our society. Perhaps the generation gap is too wide, perhaps we are spreading ourselves too thin juggling work and family. We could always point the finger at those ever-trodden scapegoats the media and the internet. But arming our children’s teachers is not the answer.

Schoeneman asks why we are not allowing teachers to protect our kids. The fault in his reasoning is that a teacher’s job is to teach, and often that is done by example. The most influential teachers are those whose personality communicates effectively with their students, making learning the academics appear to be a positive side effect of their very presence.

Instilling mortal fear will inspire no child to learn, let alone live, as we would want our children to. Think of the utter chaos it would cause in an elementary school classroom if nine-year-olds knew that Mr. So-and-so had a gun and knew how to use it. Sure, the rate at which students fall asleep in class would dramatically drop, but fits of hysteria would be brought about when it came time to do long division. Those who find math difficult would believe themselves sitting ducks. The average youngster is not of rational mind and would have no problem believing they would be shot for not correctly recalling the multiplication tables. Even now, if I thought any of my graduate teaching assistants were packing I would be scared to attend discussion knowing that no one had read the assignment.

Getting rid of guns is not the answer, but neither is arming everyone and their mother, or their teacher, as the case would have it. Rather, we have to take a step back and look at those who are pulling the triggers. They are the problem. The solution is a rather complex one, and is one that eludes me. Yet the beginning is simple, we all have to start listening to each other before school becomes a house of horror rather than a sanctuary of knowledge.

-The writer is a freshman.

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