Being a “Thug” in a Building “With Too Many Doors” Defending Students From Kids “Drugged” With “Ritalin” Indoctrinated by “Communist Democrats” – Or, Being a North Carolina Teacher

Oliver North is the incoming president of the NRA.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is an NRA member and the second-in-command in the state of Texas.

Larry Pittman is a “man of God” and also a member of NRA. He also happens to be a representative in the North Carolina General Assembly as is Rep. Mark Brody who happens to have an “A” endorsement fro the NRA.

All four of these gentlemen in the past few days have made rather interesting assertions about either the need for more guns in schools (arming teachers) or the need for teachers to be more submissive to a rather punitive job description of teachers that opposes collective bargaining.

In the aftermath of yet another school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, Oliver North was quoted as saying that the problem is too many “drugged” students.

From CNN.com,

Incoming NRA President Oliver North said the cause of such attacks is youngsters who have been “drugged in many cases.”

“Many of these young boys have been on Ritalin since they were in kindergarten,” North told Fox News Sunday (https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/20/us/malala-sabika-different-reactions-trnd/index.html). 

This coming from the man who was found guilty of selling arms to militants in a country from whom we just pulled out of a nuclear arms agreement. That country, Iran, now says it will begin enriching uranium again.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick stated in a press conference after the Santa Fe shooting many things that he thought could curb violent attacks at schools.

Texas GOP Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said after the nation’s latest school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, that teachers need guns, parents should secure firearms safely at home, and schools should eliminate some of their entrances.

“We need our teachers to be armed,” Patrick said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” (https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/20/politics/texas-dan-patrick-cnntv/index.html). 

Those two national figures seem to have pinpointed the phantom problems: Ritalin and too many doors. Blame the doctors, the architects, and the engineers. And don’t forget the teachers themselves.

Speaking of medicating for ADHD, take a look at Sir Ken Robinson’s TED Talk called “Changing Education Paradigms.” It’s simply fantastic. In it he talks about the rise of ADHD diagnoses and the rise of prescriptions for Ritalin.

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If Ritalin really is the problem here as Oliver North would want to portray, then North Carolina might be absolutely one of the worst places to teach. In fact, if you are teacher in a NC public high school, you are already in an everlasting high-alert “tornado watch” for violence.

But according to some NC lawmakers, the problem actually is more focused on a certain subsection of the public school population.

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That is from Rep. Larry Pittman, an ordained minister, who has called for arming teachers in North Carolina to avoid having “blood on their hands” (https://caffeinatedrage.com/2018/04/18/rep-larry-pittman-jesus-would-never-have-sent-that-email-concerning-arming-teachers/). This coming from a man who did not expand Medicare to children living in poverty in NC. That number is over %20 of all the state’s children.

This echoes Lt. Gov. Patrick’s call for arming teachers, but a fellow NC lawmaker said that teachers were “thugs” in a Facebook comment talking about the recent NC teacher protest on May 16th which brought thousands of people to the capital for a day of advocating for schools including safety.

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Arming “thugs” in NC to protect schools with too many doors from people drugged up with Ritalin who may have fallen prey to the ideology of communist democrats in a state controlled by republicans.

Sounds about right.

If there ever was an argument to be made for raising teacher pay these four men just made it. It’s called hazard pay. But there is a premise that is incorrect here. If anything, the way that lawmakers have “assaulted” public schools, it seems to be that what teachers are really doing is trying to protect students and schools from the people trying to protect the gun-industry.

In all of their statements, these four white male, God-fearing lawmakers never talk about gun control measures, legislation that could save schools and students.

That irony is not lost on everybody.

Blaming the recent surge of school shootings on free-thought protected by the amendment that comes before the Second, prescribed medications, and architectural designs rather than lax gun laws can only point to one very important point – our lawmakers have a huge problem in actually confronting the truth if it does not have a large PAC associated with it.

 

The Pilgrimage Of Douglas High School

The students at Douglas High School are on a pilgrimage.

It has gained a lot of momentum.

And as our country begins to see the younger generations start to assert their voices, many in Washington D.C. are having a hard time letting those new leaders “take a turn” at deciding what their country should be like.

Sen. Marco Rubio’s rather stunning lack of true leadership during the CNN town hall meeting in Florida on February 21st showed not only the glaring disconnect between lawmakers and their constituents; it showed the two-faced nature of many politicians and their loyalties.

This two-faced characteristic is sometimes linked to the Roman god named Janus, who is shown with two faces. Overtly, many like Rubio seem loyal to those whom they supposedly represent. This is what they show publicly. In reality, it seems like Rubio and company are really loyal to those who fund them. This is what they display through their actions, or lack of action.

In the English language, there are words that can have multiple meanings denotatively and connotatively. Sometimes those meanings can be in complete contradiction to each other. These specific words are called “contronyms” or “Janus words.”

R.E.M. ‘s song “Pilgrimage” plays with one of those Janus words: “clip.”

They called the clip, a two-headed cow

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“Clip” can mean to attach something to another object like using a paper clip or clipping two things together. It can also mean to cut something off like with fingernail clips.

In “Pilgrimage” that “two-headed cow” could be the divide between the very two elements that separate those young activists from Douglas High School and the politicians like Rubio who aim to keep the status quo. And one of those heads is literally calling out the other one for its hypocrisy, its “hate,” and its “broken lips.”

The word “pilgrimage” itself suggests a spiritual quest, mostly one that is a physical journey to some holy place for fulfillment of the soul. And starting with a trip to Tallahassee and the Washington D.C. and culminating with various pilgrimages outside of schools to show support of gun control laws, what is happening is the beginning of spiritual quest for the soul of this country being led by those taking their “turn.”

Most of the politicians who stand in the way of these young leaders and their pilgrimage use a pharisaical façade of holiness and religious piety. They use double-speak explain their actions in terms of freedom to have arms. They literally are “speaking in tongues.” That outward and vain show of religious expression is covering up an empty morality, one that makes the world “take a turn for the worse” and allows us to “keep our hate.”

There definitely is momentum. These young people are taking their “fortune.”

And making sure that the political status quo “will not last.”

 

“Pilgrimage”

Take a turn, take a turn
Take a fortune, take a fortune

Keep your hate, clipped and distant
Keep your luck with pilgrimage
Rest assured this will not last
Take a turn for the worst
Keep your hate, clipped and distant
Keep your luck, a two-headed cow

The pilgrimage has gained momentum
Take a turn, take a turn
Take a fortune, take a fortune

Speaking in tongues, it’s worth a broken lip
Keep your hate, clipped and distant
Keep your luck with pilgrimage
Rest assured this will not last
Take a turn for the worse
Keep your hate, clipped and distant
Keep your luck, a two-headed cow

The pilgrimage has gained momentum
Take a turn, take a turn
Take a fortune, take a fortune
Pilgrimage, pilgrimage

Speaking in tongues, it’s worth a broken lip
Keep your hate, clipped and distant
Keep your luck
Rest assured this will not last
Take a turn for the worse
Keep your hate, clipped and distant
Keep your luck, two-headed

The pilgrimage has gained momentum
Take a turn, take a turn
Take a fortune, take a fortune
Pilgrimage, pilgrimage

The pilgrimage has gained momentum
Take a turn, take a turn
Take a fortune, take a fortune
Take a turn, take a turn
Take a fortune, take a fortune

 

 

I Agree With the State Superintendent on This, But…

In the wake of the Douglas High School shootings last week, those in the position to affect changes in our public schools and how those schools can be more prepared to combat potential problems need to show leadership and take a stand – for public schools.

It is heartening to see State Supt. Mark Johnson issue a statement about arming teachers with firearms that says stands in agreement with almost every teacher I have heard from.

johnson guns

Yes, it is imperative to find ways to keep students and teachers safe.

But I hope some of the conversations that the state superintendent has as he works with the General Assembly include arguing for stricter gun laws so that military-style guns do not get in the hands of someone so easily.

I hope it involves asking for more resources to help our ratios of nurses, guidance counselors, and school psychiatrists currently in public schools.

I hope it involves giving teachers more time and money for professional development that teachers and students help create and lead and have time to actually utilize.

I hope it involves making sure that teachers have the time and flexibility to work more with students individually by funding more teacher positions and teacher assistants without the General Assembly making i a political game.

I hope that it includes state lawmakers actually having to visit public schools to get a better sense of what happens in the very places they claim they know so much about.

I hope Mark Johnson does follow through with what he says.

And I hope he is not afraid to actually listen to the very teachers AND STUDENTS he supposedly is going to help relieve the “burdens” of.

 

Douglas High School and the Fight Against Dystopia

If you walk into my daughter’s room, you will see that she has amassed quite a collection of books. They are not for decoration. They are for reading.

And re-reading. Just look at the spines if you need evidence.

Among the bookshelves are her Harry Potter books, tattered from consistent use for over ten years, and multiple series like Divergent and the Maze Runner. In fact, on Friday she went to the theater to see the last Maze Runner movie just released. Today we went to the book store for her to purchase the next book in that series.

I believe that most young adults who read what may be called dystopian literature find worlds that they would work very hard not to be actualized.

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My daughter is not one to dwell on what the future might pessimistically hold. She is one who knows what she does not want the future to be like.

She reads the news. She keeps up with current events. She volunteers. She speaks her mind.

She is aware.

While we have certainly had conversations about the massacre at Douglas High School this month around our dinner table and around the house, she probably has had as many chances to talk about it in venues her mother and I are nor present at. And that’s a good thing. I want her talking about issues like that and feel comfortable forming her own opinions and seeking the viewpoints of others.

She is not that far from being 18 years of age. She will then be able to vote. She will be able to buy cigarettes. She will have been old enough to legally drop out of high school. She will be old enough to enlist. In some states, she could legally buy an AR-15.

Many young ladies will have become mothers at 18 years of age.

But she already has a voice and has a vision of what she would like her world to be like. And she is witnessing young adults her age start to use their voice to affect change in their country and in their world in a very direct manner.

When I walk in the halls of the school where I teach, I come into contact with young adults who as experts of their own lives have experienced events and challenges that would simply baffle the middle-aged man writing this post.

Yes, our schools need more guidance counselors. more social workers, more security, more psychologists, and more resources. We need a lot of things to help make sure that what happened in Parkland, FL is not repeated.

Our schools also need to remember that students have voices. We need to give those voices authentic audiences.

When you are a teacher who views the profession as a calling and an avocation, then you know you have a love for what you do and the connections that you have with people day by day help build the humanity of the world you actualize.

I wonder if the teachers at Douglas High School have any idea how much in awe teachers like me are of their resilience and their dedication. Even more so, I am in absolute astonishment of what kind of school culture they are helping to establish when the very students who have survived this horrific ordeal have the voice, support, and the drive to instantly take action and make sure that something like this does not happen again.

It’s as if these young people have read those same books on the shelves of my daughter’s book cases, lived through an ordeal that would break me in so many ways, and fought to avert a future that would allow this to happen again.

It’s as if they have been given opportunities to speak for themselves in classes, been allowed to question things, and given chances to develop and show leadership.

Great schools are not defined by walls and physical boundaries. They may be identified by a mascot or certain colors, but what defines a school is the community and culture that pulses there.

A school is defined by its people.

And they are growing and strengthening that community by reaching out over state lines, age differences, and political affiliations.

What is happening in this country right now is not directly from a book, but it sure will be written about in years to come.

 

 

Dear Rep. Pittman – As a Teacher, You Will Never Arm Me With a Gun in School

As a teacher, I cannot legally give a student an aspirin tablet.

My high school has five counselors for over 2400 students. There is one part-time social worker. There is one school psychologist assigned to multiple schools at one time. A school nurse is on campus only one day a week.

As a country we require people to have a license to drive a car, we regulate alcohol, and we determine who can operate businesses at certain places. We cannot even put an addition on a house that we outright own unless it passes several stages of permits.

But at 18-years of age, one becomes old enough to buy a pack of cigarettes and an AR-15. That’s three years before one can buy a beer legally.

Lawmakers set these guidelines. Interesting that one (possibly more) thinks I should carry a gun to protect students from shooters.

I am a teacher of 20 years in public schools. And I want to tell Rep. Larry Pittman that I will never carry a weapon on my person as a teacher in any school despite what he suggested in wake of the recent school shooting at Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.

As reported by the Associated Press on Feb. 16,

A North Carolina lawmaker says allowing teachers to bring guns to school would save lives in situations such as the deadly school shooting in Florida.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports Republican State Rep. Larry Pittman of Cabarrus County told colleagues Thursday that he met with a police officer who wants to talk to lawmakers about training school personnel (http://www.journalnow.com/news/state_region/want-to-stop-deadly-school-shootings-let-teachers-have-guns/article_a6436b6e-1954-5205-8fb9-546688ce0724.html).

And this was not all that Pittman had to say on the matter.

From a recent News & Observer article, it was reported that Pittman made some interesting assertions.

In a Facebook comment on another user’s post, Pittman speculated the Florida shooter was part of a conspiracy to “push for gun control so they can more easily take over the country” (http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article200294174.html).

pittman

Let it not be lost that Pittman is an ordained Presbyterian minister.

I don’t ever remember part of my training as a teacher whether in the classroom or in the field involving carrying a weapon to protect school children. Something in me clings to the idea that I am trying to arm my students with the ability to think for themselves and become productive citizens based on their choices in pursuing life, liberty, and happiness.

But Larry Pittman wants to me to carry a weapon, even if I am a “communist democrat.”

Because I am a public school teacher.

I have to fork over my own money to buy supplies.

We have not had new textbooks in over ten years.

We have a lower per-pupil expenditure in this state than we did years ago.

We have school buildings that are literally falling apart.

And lawmakers like Larry Pittman want to privatize public schools in North Carolina in such an explicit manner that we are seeing dramatic drops in teacher candidates to teach our students. Yet he wants to “arm” me when he won’t even fully fund the very place I would be called upon to protect.

Not one student who survived the massacre at Douglas High School has called for arming teachers. In fact in a post on Facebook a couple of the teachers who were very near the lines of fire talked about what teachers could always do in such horrific circumstances. They never mentioned being armed. They talked about being prepared. They talked about drills, locking doors, staying away from windows.

And those students from Douglas are pleading for gun control. Loudly. This teacher is taking their word for it, not Larry Pittman’s.

This is actually from www.electpittman.com, Rep. Larry Pittman’s website:

“Without the right to keep and bear arms, the people have no means of securing their freedom. The framers of the US Constitution understood this, and put the Second Amendment into the Constitution for that reason. They had just had to fight to throw of the tyranny of the British government. They knew that, no matter how wonderful a form of government they gave us, humans are corruptible, and the government might become tyrannical again. So they wanted the people to be free always to fight for their freedom, even against their own government if need be. Government officials today who deny this know better. They understand all too well that this is the meaning of the Second Amendment. That’s why people like Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer want to get rid of our right to keep and bear arms. Never trust anyone who wants to disarm our citizens. They are potential tyrants who bear watching. We must be ever vigilant to preserve our freedom. As an NRA member, who fully supports the Second Amendment, the NRA, the GRNC, and other supporters of gun owner rights have no greater friend than I in Raleigh, BECAUSE THE PEOPLE MATTER.”

If Rep. Larry Pittman really wanted to “arm” teachers, then he would push for fully funding our schools with every resource possible.

And as a “man of God,” he could at least understand that gun control can be enacted without infringing on people’s rights to bear arms.