Marine Turned Teacher: Why I Will Not Carry a Gun in School


Lloyd Lofthouse was a Marine. He saw combat. Then he became a teacher. He is retired.

He explains here why it is a VERY bad idea to arm teachers:

”I woke up this morning remembering what it was like when I was teaching. There were students everywhere. Many arrived early in the morning and some were still around late at night. My classroom was surrounded by other classrooms full of students during the regular school day when a shooter might show up.

“If I had been armed with an automatic pistol and fired in any direction, I would have hit other classrooms with an average of 34 students in each one and a teacher and sometimes other adults helping the teacher or observing. No matter which way I fired a pistol, there would be another classroom and if the classroom wasn’t there, there were the streets with traffic and businesses and houses on the other side of those streets. People everywhere.

“Between classes, the halls were filled (packed is a better description) with students moving from one class to the next. Even trained as I was from the time I was a U.S. Marine, there would be no way to avoid hitting another student in that crowd even if I could identify the shooter. If there was a shooter, that crowd would be in a panic running everywhere. One shot from a pistol I carried, even if it hit the shooter could end up passing through the shooter and hitting a student behind them.

“If all the teachers are armed and several are shooting at the shooter if they can see the shooter and there are others all around in a panic, the death toll and wounded could end up much higher.

“How could any teacher live with that for the rest of their lives — that they fired on a shooter but missed and hit another child and/or that they hit the shooter but also took out one or more children behind the shooter?

“What happens to the teachers then — will they be lauded as heroes or crucified as careless killers?

“No matter how much one trains to become a skilled shooter, there is no one, I repeat, no one, not even the best snipers in the military that don’t miss their target and hit something else to either side or behind it without hitting the target.

”Once you pull that trigger, that round is going to go somewhere with no guarantee that you will hit what you wanted to hit. Even if you shoot straight up into the sky, that bullet will eventually come back down and hit the earth or something/someone else.”

from sarah


Ohio: Biggest Charter Shill Running for State Senate

Andrew Brenner is chairman of the House Education Committee in the Ohio Legislature. He hates public schools. He once referred to them as an example of “socialism.” He loves charter schools. Free enterprise! He was ECOT’s champion, the online charter that fraudulently inflated its enrollment and owes many millions to the state.

Brenner is now running for State Senate in District 19 in Delaware County. Take note if you are a parent or teacher.

The failed ECOT loved Brenner. It gave him lots of campaign $$$$.

Denis Smith details the love affair between Brenner and ECOT here. 

from sarah

Mary Butz: Even Without Guns, Educators Are First Responders in the Lives of Children


Full disclosure: Mary Butz is my spouse. She had a distinguished career as a teacher, an assistant principal, a high school principal, and a trainer of principals in her 34-year career in the New York City public schools.

In this post, she describes the challenges of protecting students on a daily basis.

She notes that when Trump visited the Florida hospital where students were in recovery, he praised them and the hospital staff. She did not hear similar praise for the heroic teachers who shielded their students and even died to protect them.

Teachers signed up to teach, not to act as human shields or cops. They too need protection, not to be armed and enlisted to work in a firing zone.

from sarah

Teacher: I Signed Up to Teach Art History, Not to Carry Weapons or Die

Rebecca Field is a teacher of art history in Richmond, Virginia. She wrote a powerful letter that got the attention of CNN and went viral. 

She wrote:

Dear every elected official,

Nowhere in my contract does it state that if the need arises, I have to shield students from gunfire with my own body. If it did, I wouldn’t have signed it. I love my job. I love my students. I am also a mother with 2 amazing daughters…. I imagine that if someone was trying to kill my students, that I would try to save them with all my being. I probably would jump on top of a child to save her life. And yes, I might be one of those heroic teachers that the media writes tributes to after their death. But I am furious that I would have to make this sacrifice. I am incensed that my own children would lose their mother because I chose to be a teacher…

I did not sign up to be ripped apart by a spray of bullets that came from a semi-automatic rifle. At the end of my teaching contract, it says that I will perform “other duties to be assigned”. I do not interpret these words “as bleeding to death on the floor of my classroom”. The anger that courses through my body after a school shooting in this country is accompanied by pure panic. I am terrified of my own children dying in school, first and foremost, but I am also terrified that the responsibility that sits on my shoulders as a teacher is far greater than I can rationally accept. On Back to School Night, I look out at the gazes of the parents in front of me as we silently make a pact. “I am giving you the most precious part of me with the knowledge that you will shield my child’s body with your own when the need arises.” They say this with their eyes. I agree to this responsibility and make a silent unbreakable oath before them. As I am telling them about the 20,000 years of global art history that I will be teaching their child, I am also agreeing to die. When I am in the parent’s place at my daughter’s school, I am asking the same of her teacher. This teacher may end up being the only thing blocking a bullet aimed for my daughter’s head.

I am furious. How dare you force me to choose between my own children and those that I teach. How dare you allow powerful adults who love guns to be more important than a generation of children growing up in fear….

Instead of making dead teachers into saints, make them safer when they are still alive. Make it possible for schools to have smaller class sizes so that we can get to know our students and look out for the ones who need help. Hire more counselors and school nurses and social workers and psychologists so that many people are caring for each child. HELP us prevent this. Take away guns from people who will murder us. Stop taking money from the NRA and proving how soulless you are. Keep us safe so I can do my job. How dare you put me into constant danger so that you can be reelected. How dare you make me choose between saving children or making my own children motherless. How dare you make me into a hero when I just want to teach.


from sarah

Dahlia Lithwick: What We Can Learn from the Student Leaders of the MSD Rebellion

Slate writer Dahlia Lithwick describes what she has learned from the students who emerged as spokespersons for the student survivors of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

They are the most eloquent and most effective protest leaders in our nation since the 1960s and 1970s, when civil rights and anti-Vietnam war activists converged to change the nation’s direction.

She derives five lessons that they have taught us.

The first is that they ignore Donald Trump.

The second is that they don’t waste their time arguing with people who don’t share their values and goals.

The third is that they share leadership and don’t care who gets the credit.

Read the piece to learn the other two lessons for making change in the Trump era.

from sarah

Oakland Parent: Leave Our Public Schools Alone!


The Broad Foundation, elected by no one, has been experimenting on the Oakland, California, public schools for a decade or more. Its goal is to get rid of all democratic governance and privatize all the schools. It has not closed the achievement gap or reached any of its goals.

Oakland public school parent Jane Nylund describes the reform plan in Oakland (whose last Superintendent Antwan Wilson bailed out after adding administrative bloat and became chancellor of the D.C. schools, then resigned in D.C. after trying to transfer his daughter into a coveted school, violating the lottery plan he authored.)

Nylund writes:

“It is with disappointment, but not surprise, to find out that our community is still being used as a mouthpiece via CRPE [Center for Reinventing Public Education] and other reform groups, to come up with a narrative that will make it more palatable to sell school closure to the public. This narrative, which is being communicated to the public via the Blueprint committee, is lockstep with the plans that CRPE and others have put in place to continue the expansion of charter schools in Oakland and elsewhere in the Bay Area. If there was any doubt as to what the grand plan is, you can read all about it in this report. CRPE makes no effort to hide it, but it’s still a major disappointment to once again find that our community is being used as “engagement” pawns in the charter expansion game.

“From Center for Reinventing Public Education:

[It says:] “Ultimately, the growth of charters will be fundamentally constrained as long as districts fail to consolidate or close underenrolled district schools. Serious attention needs to go into developing a strategy that requires or incentivizes these actions and provides political backing to district and board officials who are trying to make these adjustments.” [End quote]

“High level: the Bay Area is saturated with charters, there aren’t any more reasonably priced facilities, so what is a charter operator to do? The added complication in Oakland is its “toxic local politics.” Meaning, this community won’t go down the primrose path willingly, so the district has to sugarcoat it. A lot.

“Step 1-Come up with a survey that isn’t really a survey. It’s a way to steer respondents into answering questions that favor school closure/consolidation

“I read it and was amazed by the complete lack of any sort of objectivity. This “survey” needs to be called out for what it is-a method to “engage” an unsuspecting public for buy-in to justify more disruption in the district to close/consolidate schools. It is not a real survey; it’s full of biased, leading questions-who wouldn’t want safe, supported schools? But then, once the data is collected and put out in the media, the district uses that completely biased information to justify their decisions. “Well, it’s not our fault we closed your school and opened a charter in its place-it’s what you said you wanted on the survey”. If the district’s plan is to disrupt the district even more than they have in the past, then they need to own that decision and stop using the public this way. It’s unconscionable, but it seems that is the usual method.

“Slide 8 is my favorite. Respondents were asked several questions about changing school sizes/consolidation; the questions didn’t get much support. But, just to make sure that the district could turn those non-supporters into supporters, they added a survey choice “Potentially support based on the outcomes of local engagement”. To the respondent, that’s a definite maybe-or-maybe-not response, but the district captures the “potential support” as actual support, combines the two positive numbers together, and lo and behold, now everyone supports school closure/consolidation, even the non-supporters. It’s all good! And these numbers will be repeated over, and over, and over….

“Slide 16 is another good one. It concerns sizes of elementary schools. There is this random quote on the slide that has nothing to do with the data presented on the slide:

“OUSD does not perform better than the identified peers with minority students using 2017 CA School Dashboard data”

“Meaning what? The subliminal message is that OUSD doesn’t do a good job having these smaller elementary schools/classes (shown on the slide), so we don’t need them. Terrible example of overreach and causation which doesn’t exist. Don’t fall for it.

“Step 2-Use a Broad-trained employee to create an enrollment model

“I know, right? This isn’t going to end well.

“Step 3-Use data to generate a list of “peer” districts that will determine some kind of random school size target, with no thought as to whether those sizes are what works for Oakland

“Generate a benchmark? This one is so far out there in terms of random data crunching that I don’t know where to begin. For starters, the peer list did not include West Contra Costa, a local district that is nearly a perfect match to our own. The fact that West Contra Costa didn’t make the list makes me question the criteria was used to generate it. Again, keep you eyes on the target and your seat backs and tray tables in the full and upright position. So someone pulls together a peer list of schools (LA Unified? With 400,000+ students? Not our peer) and comes up with some sort of average school size that OUSD should meet. Why? If logic dictates, then it goes without saying that these peer districts must be full service districts with wraparound services. Remember, that’s what’s being sold to the community. Reach the size of the peer district, and that’s what you will have.

“Wrong. In small type, the author does concur that “The above is based only on peer benchmarking; peers may or may not have quality community schools.”

“Again, go back to the quote at the beginning of the message. Does CRPE say anything about full service community schools? No, of course not. It’s about charter expansion and getting tasty real estate by the Lake. It’s always been about that.

“Turn this entire exercise on its head. Maybe those peer districts want to have full services. Maybe they want smaller class sizes like we have in Oakland. But due to all kinds of constraints, like funding, they can’t have these things. So why would OUSD want to match these peer districts? LA Unified and San Diego Unified are both going broke. Oh, right, so is OUSD.

“Step 4-Use inappropriate districts in your peer list to make it look like Oakland doesn’t perform as well as its “peers”, and therefore it’s okay to have larger class sizes, just like their “peers”

“Don’t use districts like SF Unified as a peer. They might be our neighbor, but their FRPL is around 56%. OUSD is about 74%. Not the same. But adding wealthier districts to the peer list creates the narrative that Oakland doesn’t perform as well as their peers (with the bigger schools/class sizes). Wealth generates higher test scores.

“An analogy would be, “Well, we give all of our Oakland kids breakfast but only half the kids in a wealthier district get breakfast. Our kids don’t seem to be performing better than those other kids, so therefore we should take our kids’ breakfast away.” Seriously.

“Step 5-Come up with a breakeven enrollment model that uses teachers’ salaries as variable costs. Huh?

“I’m not an accountant, but I do have an MBA. I was taught that generally salaries are considered fixed costs, at least in the short run. Teachers don’t get paid by the hour, or by how any widgets they make. They get paid the same whether they teach ten kids or thirty. Variable costs are things like books and food. So what’s up with using a model that treats teachers like books or food?

“Well, turns out there is a model for that very concept. It comes from the Friedman Foundation, another ed reform group which espouses Milton Friedman’s dream of sending kids to private schools through vouchers. In order to justify the cost of using a voucher (and thus taking that money away from public schools), the group has espoused the idea that teachers themselves are, in fact, a short term variable cost of doing business, and not fixed. Like supplies or pizza workers. In other words, Friedman’s model assumes that we have a ready supply of teachers of all sorts, experienced, certified, that we can tap into and hire and lay off at will at any time. It also assumes that all that hiring/firing in no way will cause any kind of disruption and impact to learning. Oh, and it won’t increase class size, either. Maybe in some other parallel universe. So by treating teachers as variable costs, the Friedman group can now advocate for a larger dollar amount of the voucher by claiming that the voucher covers only the variable cost portion of educating the child. Which according to them, includes books, food, and teachers. If they left the teacher portion out of that voucher, it would be a lot smaller.

“If teachers’ salaries were treated as variable costs in the breakeven calculation, I have to question the entire validity of the model. Maybe the answer would be the same, but it’s difficult for me to accept cost assumptions pattered after a reform group that wants to take my tax dollars (and yours) and give it to a student to attend a school that teaches that man and dinosaurs lived together. That’s just not cool with me.

“Step 6-deal with community pushback by dangling a carrot, that really turns out to be a stick
What to do when you need to convince the community that a bad idea is really a good idea? Easy. Use their emotional buy-in to support full-service community schools. And then, gently explain to them that in order to provide these services, we must close schools. That’s exactly what the survey did. Then, as if by magic, millions of dollars will appear that the district will use thoughtfully and responsibly to fund these programs. That is the predetermined outcome that the survey was after, and that’s what they got. Sounds great, right?

“Right, only it’s magical thinking. See CRPE quote at the beginning of this email if you’re not convinced. Closing schools does one thing: allows another charter to move into the building (gotta have more!). The last 19 school closures resulted in 15 charters opening. OUSD enrollment drops (think charter expansion), millions of dollars leave the district, and all those purported savings go up in smoke. No money for programs. Not going to happen. But, CRPE gets what it wants, as do the local charter operators, who by their own admission, desperately want to expand. Because we don’t have enough schools as it is. Or do we? Hey, it’s the free market at its finest. What could possibly go wrong?”


from sarah

Ohio: Students to Teacher in Wheelchair: “If There is a Shooter, We Will Carry You”



How do you do emergency planning when the teacher is in a wheelchair? The teacher wondered. The students had a plan.

“Like teachers all over the country, Marissa Schimmoeller returned to her high school classroom the day after the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last week with a heavy heart. She told TODAY Parents she knew the day would be a tough one for her ninth and tenth grade English students at Delphos Jefferson High School in Delphos, Ohio.

“Schimmoeller went to school that day prepared to tell her students exactly what they should do in the case of an active shooter on their own campus. It turned out her students had a plan of their own — and when Schimmoeller revealed one key detail of it in an emotional Facebook post, the story quickly went viral….

”This is 24-year-old Schimmoeller’s first year of teaching, and she has more considerations that others when it comes to active shooter drills in her classroom: Schimmoeller was born with cerebral palsy and she uses a wheelchair.

“Her students are familiar with the day-to-day implications of her condition, she told TODAY Parents. “I begin on the first day by talking about my disability,” she said. “I tell them that they may be asked to assist me in the classroom — by passing out papers or writing on the board for me — and I allow them to ask me any questions they want to.

“However, last Friday was the first time that I had to share my limitations in terms of protecting them.”

“When her student asked what they should do in case of an attack, Schimmoeller said she felt “a bolt of fear and sadness run through me. I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I want them to feel safe in my classroom….”

“On Facebook, Schimmoeller wrote that she told the students, “I want you to know that I care deeply about each and every one of you and that I will do everything I can to protect you. But — being in a wheelchair, I will not be able to protect you the way an able-bodied teacher will. And if there is a chance for you to escape, I want you to go. Do not worry about me. Your safety is my number one priority.”

“Her students had other plans. “Slowly, quietly, as the words I had said sunk in, another student raised their hand,” Schimmoeller wrote.

“She said, ‘Mrs. Schimmoeller, we already talked about it. If anything happens, we are going to carry you…

”When I was in front of those amazing kids as they told me they would carry me out of our building, if, God forbid, we were faced with a situation like the one in Florida, it occurred to me that every child, every one of my students, is so full of light and goodness.”

“I wanted to share that with those around me, because I spent so much of my day angry about the violence, and I knew that people needed reminding of the good in this world just as much as I did,” she said.”

Next time anyone complains about the rising generation, tell them they don’t know these kids. They are our hope for a better future.

from sarah

Parkland: Claims That At Least 3 Armed Officers Refused to Enter School to Stop Shooter


Police officials are investigating the possibility that at least three armed deputies stayed outside the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School while mass murderer Nikolas Cruz was gunning down students and teachers.

The “good guys”with the guns did not even attempt to stop the “bad guy”with an AR-15. They knew they were outgunned and they failed to do their duty. They left zcruz to kill at will.

Trump used this information to argue at the Conservative PAC that teachers should be armed because they “know”and “love” the students, and they would confront a mass murderer with an AR-15 armed only with a handgun.

New York Police Department statistics show that well-trained police officers are accurate only 18% of the time in a gunfight.

Imagine the scene in a school, where there is pandemonium, and teachers start firing wildly. How many students and teachers will be killed by friendly fire? Trump imagines that 10-20% of America’s teachers are highly trained marksmen, perhaps with Marine training. At one of his news conferences, he said that General Kelly could have stopped Nikolas Cruz with a handgun. Since General Kelly is unlikely to be located in any American school at any future time, this claim is pure fantasy.

Trump forgets that 70% or so of educators are women. Very few of America’s teachers are former Marines or expert marksmen. His remedy will guarantee mass mayhem.

The only meaningful cure is banning military weapons, keeping them out of the hands of civilians.


from sarah


The next stop of the Delivering the Memo Master Class Book Tour takes John Hope Bryant to San Francisco, California, for an impactful conversation with HOPE strategic partner, and Bank of the West President and CEO, Nandita Bakhshi. On Tuesday, February 27, the pair will discuss the importance of uplifting the “invisible class” and the foundational keys to attaining financial freedom.

Operation HOPE and Bank of the West have developed a long-standing collaboration empowering communities with financial dignity through programming and services offered at no cost to the client. As the first financial services partner to install a HOPE Inside office in its branch, Bank of the West was an early adopter of the now award-winning HOPE Inside model of personal transformation and community uplift being replicated at scale.

To date, there are 100 operational HOPE Inside locations across the nation, with four offices produced through the Bank of the West partnership, impacting thousands of lives in California communities.

The limited-seating event will take place at The Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, and will begin promptly at 6:30 pm. A book signing session will follow the discussion. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased here.

The post San Francisco Event: JOHN HOPE BRYANT- THE PATH TO FINANCIAL LIBERATION appeared first on

from sarah

Reader: Should Donald Trump’s Music Teacher Have Carried a Gun?



Reader Carolmalaysia writes:


”Generally, I’m against teachers packing heat. I’ll make an exception in the case for young Trump’s 2nd grade music teacher. If she had overreacted our country wouldn’t have an IDIOT for president. That, however, is the only time a teacher should have had a gun.

“Here’s what Donald Trump wrote in his 1987 book, “The Art of the Deal“:

“Even in elementary school, I was a very assertive, aggressive kid. In the second grade I actually gave a teacher a black eye. I punched my music teacher because I didn’t think he knew anything about music and I almost got expelled. I’m not proud of that, but it’s clear evidence that even early on I had a tendency to stand up and make my opinions known in a forceful way.”

from sarah