It’s back to school season. The time of year teachers ready their classrooms, create endless lesson plans, and attend various training sessions in preparation for a new school year.
One such professional development session has gone viral, and it grimly highlights all that is wrong with the gun control crisis in America today. Tony Dokoupil, co-host of CBS This Morning, took to Twitter to post a disturbing photo taken at his mother’s back-to-school teacher training course. It shows a bloody model of part of a human leg with a gaping gunshot wound. A picture truly is worth a thousand words.
He captions the image with the following:
My mom has been a teacher for 30 years. Now, because of mass shootings, this is part of her back to school training: learning how to staunch a giant sucking bullet hole.
My mom has been a teacher for 30 years. Now, because of mass shootings, this is part of her back to school training: learning how to staunch a giant sucking bullet hole. pic.twitter.com/YN8ooLSfCH
— Tony Dokoupil (@tonydokoupil) August 29, 2019
America, there is something really wrong with this. Over 7,000 comments have been made, ranging from “This never should have become a thing” to “Why would you not want to know how to treat a wound?” In addition, the post has received a number of teachers weighing in.
OMG. I am a teacher and this is horrifying. One of the reasons I didn’t go into nursing is I’m not a fan of blood. Now in addition to being a counselor, extra parent, cheerleader, teacher, etc, I have to be a cop and a nurse too?
— Tricia Cave (@tdcave) August 29, 2019
teacher here. yes, this is part of our training now. also how to use weapons (no guns or knives) against an intruder: throw books, desks, ANYTHING HEAVY, how to barricade a door, how to keep kids calm, etc. We dedicate a full day to this training.
— Kelly (@KellyKreichman) August 29, 2019
I now keep running shoes in my classroom, in case I need to get out of my dress shoes to run with the kids, I keep extra towels and T-shirt’s to pack wounds, extra water and snacks in case we are trapped… and all I wanted to do was teach history…
— Gwendolyn Meister (@daschund264) August 30, 2019
Read the other replies. We’re not afraid. We’re disgusted. This should not be our life. There are more beneficial things we should be spending our professional development days on to support children and learning.
— Leigh Henderson (@leigh10su) August 30, 2019
This is not the first training of its kind. The Journal News reported of similar sessions in Butler County, Ohio where teachers were taught how to treat gunshot wounds using chunks of raw meat infused with fake blood. Additionally, active shooter training and lock-down drills have become a common occurrence in the majority of US classrooms.
Is it not enough that we expect our teachers to meet the needs of overcrowded classrooms full of children with varying academic, behavioral, emotional, and socio-economic challenges? Is it not enough that teachers are burdened by tight budgetary constraints, excessive standardized testing, and reams of bureaucratic red tape threatening to choke the profession?
Somewhere along the way we have lost the idea that teachers are meant to teach our children. They are NOT supposed to be social workers, or nurses, or EMTs. They are NOT supposed to be police officers or first responders. Teachers did not become educators to trade in reading, writing, and arithmetic for rifles, lock-down drills, and medical combat training.
And yet, the reality is grim. There have been 273 mass shootings in the United States in the past 8 months alone. I’ll let that sink in for a moment. Two hundred and seventy-three. According to CNN, of those, 22 have been school shootings. So far this year. In 2018, CNN did an analysis of school shootings in the United States compared to the rest of the world. They found that:
The US has had 57 times as many school shootings as the other major industrialized nations combined.
Regardless of how you feel about gun control, this is madness. Pure, unadulterated madness. And it has reached a level where it is now affecting our teachers, our schools, and our children in the most heart-breaking way. Whether we want to admit it or not.