The senseless, preventable killings in Parkland have prompted me to write.

I teach at Falmouth High School. My students are inspiring, intelligent, funny, original and gifted, and they give me hope for the future. I’m fortunate to have worked with such remarkable young people over the past 20 years. I care about my students and want them to discover their best selves and live their truth in the world. However, I am not willing to die for them, nor should I be expected to.

This murder of children and adults must stop. The inaction of our elected “leaders” is spineless and unacceptable. I’m not saying “Outlaw all guns” or “There are no responsible gun owners.” I live in Maine. I know responsible hunters and don’t fear them or their guns. I do fear assault weapons, which destroy tissue so badly it’s unlikely that people will survive being shot.

We shouldn’t go to school wondering if today’s the day there’s a shooting. A colleague shared her guilt over not being sure she’d step between a shooter and students. I responded, “Dive for the nearest closet. You have children who need their mom alive and unscathed.” School staff shouldn’t feel guilty for not being willing to die for students (we shouldn’t have to even consider this).

One of my students recently said that instead of feeling safer when she sees more police cars at school, she wonders what’s gone wrong. This isn’t a criticism of the police. Our school resource officer is excellent. Rather, it illustrates how much fear students carry on a daily basis. That is just wrong.

Spend money hiring more social workers and on staff development to help us recognize a potentially dangerous student. Everyone can all help by voting for candidates who will take action against gun violence.

Joanna Leary


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.