Well, there’s been another nationally publicized school shooting which, inevitably, brings our dialogue back to the subject of guns and schools, and the growing chorus of people who believe that The Only Solution is to have public schoolteachers (you know, those lazy, overpaid union bums) carry weapons.
Anybody who knows me knows how I feel about the arming of public schoolteachers, and I’m not (honestly!) trying to start a discussion about the Second Amendment, private weapon ownership, or guns in schools.
Because I’ve been blessed (or cursed) with a long memory, any time anybody presents the solution of arming schoolteachers, I wander back down Memory Lane and think about the public servants who molded and shaped MY fragile little mind (whether they’ll admit to it now or not). So, what I’ve decided to do is present a comprehensive list of teachers that I remember, and based on my recollections, do a post-mortem on whether or not they would have fit the NRA narrative of “Good Guy With A Gun.”
As I age and think back on an increasingly hazy childhood, I really only remember the very good and the very bad. A lot of my teachers aren’t on this list. And, I want to stress that, even though there’s a couple of bona-fide kooks on the list, for the most part I had a fine K-12 public education.
Also, I am NOT making the argument that any of these teachers should not have been privately allowed to own weapons-just the feasibility of that teacher being “deputized” for classroom weapon duty.
For a sense of perspective, my entire public education took place in the Jefferson County School District (CO) between the fall of 1976 and the fall of 1989. I entered school at roughly age six and graduated at age 18.
So, let’s begin, shall we?
1976-1980: Fitzmorris Elementary
Kindergarten: Miss Bragg
An attractive younger woman who wore culottes and giant sunglasses roughly 35 years before they were “in,” Miss Bragg was in most senses the perfect kindergarten teacher. She became a little less perfect the day she kept a group of us after school for misbehaving and brought out a child-behind-sized paddle and informed us that, in the Good Old Days, children who misbehaved were paddled, and she had half a mind to bring the Good Old Days back. The paddle disappeared when my mom appeared at the door to find out why I wasn’t home from school yet. Years later, I heard a rumor that Miss Bragg had taken a year or two off from teaching after locking herself in a closet during school with a roomful of children.
Carry a gun? No. Even the suspicion of instability rules it out.
First Grade Homeroom: Mrs. Norman
The only thing I really remember about Mrs. Norman was her advanced age. Apparently she thought I was great, but don’t remember any special or preferential treatment.
Carry a gun? Mrs. Norman was so old that she might, in fact, have had to defend her homestead during frontier days. Her firearms proficiency would probably have been limited to double-barreled shotguns, Winchester repeaters and Colt .45s. Probably not good tactical classroom armament.
Second grade homeroom: Mrs. Gillice
Yowza. Hottie, hot, hottie is pretty much my memory of Mrs. Gillice. A tall, blonde Scandinavian-looking woman.
Carry a gun? Probably not, although with those cheekbones, a broadsword or throwing axe might not have been out of the question.
1980-1983: Hackberry Hill Elementary
We moved and I finished my elementary years at Hackberry. Here’s where it starts getting interesting due to increased classes with non-homeroom teachers.
Third Grade Homeroom: Mrs. Harms
A placid, friendly woman. I think she was raised on a farm.
Carry a gun? Probably not.
Fourth Grade Homeroom: Mr. Suley
Mr. Suley adored me, which was for the best, because he had a temper. I saw him punch a kid in the ribs once and drag him out of the classroom-I think later on, he also manhandled that kid on the playground. Draw your own conclusions depending on how you feel about corporal punishment in schools.
I think (don’t know where or how I heard this) that Mr. Suley may have been a Korea vet.
Carry a gun? NO. Even if he had military/combat experience, too unstable. Also potential PTSD issues.
Fourth-grade math: Mrs. Helgoth
As old, if not older than Mrs. Norman. Most of her teaching involved a series of “stations” where we were to work independently (when you’ve finished E-22, move on to E-23, etc). It didn’t take me long to figure out this system was created to ensure she spent as little time teaching as possible. If she thought you were chewing gum, she’d make you blow into her face so she could smell your breath.
Carry a gun? No
Fifth grade homeroom: Mrs. Harmon
Another hottie, and I flourished in her classroom, but she took twenty minutes of class time one day to tell us how she dated a warlock in college and almost became a witch, but Jesus came to her personally one night and talked her out of it.
Carry a gun? Nope. Sorry. Two-way discussions with Jesus are a dealbreaker.
Fifth-grade (?) history teacher: Mr. Wagner
For some reason, I have distinct memories of Mr. Wagner, even though he wasn’t my homeroom teacher. He was missing part of a finger due to a mishap with a vacuum cleaner. He was probably the age range to have served in Korea (or even WWII), but I don’t know if I’d trust someone with a gun who lost part of their finger to a vacuum cleaner.
Sixth-grade homeroom: Mrs. Reese
Had a fine sixth-grade year, due in no small part to Mrs. Reese and her sister, Mrs. Stocker, who taught in adjoining classrooms. However, there’s nothing to suggest that she or Mrs. Stocker would have made much of a difference in a combat scenario.
Carry a gun? No…not that she would have wanted to in the first place.
So, that’s elementary. Junior high? High school? Stay tuned…