Teachers return to Stoneman Douglas

Margarita Lasalle, a bookkeeper, and Joellen Berman, a guidance data specialist, look at a memorial Feb. 23 as teachers and school staffers returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for the first time since 17 victims were killed in a mass shooting Feb. 14 at the school in Parkland, Fla. ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTO

Mike Stocker

President Trump knows so little about so many things that it can sometimes be dizzying to listen to his proposals.

But everyone should remain clearheaded about the president’s dangerously stupid response to the horrific gun violence at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Borrowing a page from the National Rifle Association — which is nothing more than scam set up by gun manufacturers to promote more gun sales — the president tweeted: "Armed Educators (and trusted people who work within a school) love our students and will protect them. Very smart people. Must be firearms adept & have annual training. Should get yearly bonus. Shootings will not happen again — a big & very inexpensive deterrent. Up to States."

Incoherent as usual, Trump spewed a lot of words in order to say one thing: He thinks that pistol-packing teachers are the answer to an epidemic of gun violence. A few know-nothing Republicans, such as dippy Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, expressed openness to the idea. But sane Republicans steered clear of what was obviously an attempt by the NRA and its stooges to divert attention from the real issue: There are too many guns that are available to too many people who are too interested in harming other people.

Teachers know the Trump-NRA scam is inane.

"I don't want a firearm in my classroom. I want more books. I want more supplies for my students," explained Jason Knoll, an Army veteran who now teaches social studies at Verona Area High School. Knoll is running this spring for the District 32 seat on the Dane County Board and he speaks for a lot of parents and teachers in Dane County and across Wisconsin.

As Becky Pringle, a vice president of the National Education Association who is a middle school science teacher with 31 years of classroom experience, told NPR: “Everything that the president has said about arming teachers has been shocking to all of us.”

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“Our teachers do not want to be armed,” explained Pringle. “I cannot even imagine having — on top of all the responsibilities I have teaching my students the wonders of science, making sure that they are valued and respected for the unique human beings they are, and now I'm being asked to carry a gun and make life-and-death decisions. That is absolutely not what we are trained to do and not what we want to do for our students.”

That’s the bottom line. The NRA is trying to prevent real responses to the murders of teenagers in Parkland, and so many other teenagers and younger children across the country. Dupes like Trump are helping the gun lobby to spin a dark fantasy, as are political pawns like Schimel. For the sake of our children, for the future of public education, we all have a moral duty to tell Trump and Schimel and all the rest of the NRA’s “useful idiots” that they are adding nothing of value to the debate about gun violence.

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