BULLIED AND BELITTLED

One month later, my memory of that fateful day in the airport had dimmed a little. I was lying in bed, scrolling through Facebook posts by those almost-strangers we call friends when I came across a video—a video of an LA student aggressively bullying his teacher who was a frail older man who had clearly lost control of his class. The student was threatening to punch his teacher if he didn’t give him his confiscated phone back. The teacher was backing away, evidently very frightened. Meanwhile, the rest of the class was recording the scene on their phones while laughing at the teacher!

I was horrified and deeply saddened by what I saw. Once again, I came face-to-face with a teacher who was totally unappreciated and even abused.

Around that same time, there was a tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida. I overheard a lot of talk on the news of putting guns in the hands of teachers to defend the students and shoot anyone who trespassed into the school. Again, I was shocked. I thought of the immense burden that would place on our already overwhelmed teachers—the trauma and responsibility of having to shoot someone, in Parkland’s case, a former student.

Imagine what the job description for teachers would look like!

“Teacher Wanted—30k-60k salary. You’ll be overworked and underpaid. School supplies will come out of your own pocket. Must carry a gun at all times, in a class full of children. In the event of a school shooting, we’ll expect you to shoot one of your current or former students!”