Armed teachers?

This is an archived article that was published on in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Having been a classroom teacher for 34 years, when I read "Utahns cool with guns in school" (Tribune, Jan. 24), my jaw (and spirits) dropped: "Nearly six out of 10 Utahns believe teachers should be allowed to pack firearms in the classroom."

Take a moment to think back on your own years in school. Who were the teachers who most influenced your life? What was the classroom atmosphere like where you learned most?

Were you allowed to ask questions, have debates with classmates, honestly discuss your thoughts and ideas in a safe and open forum where the aim was to learn to listen to all views with respect, and to challenge your own thinking if the views had solid evidence to support them?

Democracy — civilization — depends on gaining these skills.

Think of those same respected teachers with guns. Has the balance of power shifted? Would this shift affect your learning? Now, think of the teachers who somehow damaged your love of learning. Think of them with guns.

Classrooms must be places where mutual respect, lack of fear, a sense of community and willingness to risk honest conversation are safe. Real learning cannot exist when it is fear-driven.

Please … armed teachers?

Liz Montague

Salt Lake City