Letter: Armed teachers will be classroom hazard

To the editor:

I began my 16-year teaching stint at Crosby Junior High School in 1970. One afternoon, with only five minutes until dismissal time, a student new to my classroom requested a hallway pass. I denied his request explaining that school policy prevented the use of a pass during the last 10 minutes of the school day.

He came up behind me, gripped my neck in a chokehold and wrestled me from my chair to the floor. His peers sat at their desks in shocked amazement as the two of us rolled around in the open space provided by our circular seating arrangement. After a few seconds, he released his grip and I told him to take his seat. He did so immediately without a word spoken. As I recovered, I dismissed the other students and accompanied him to the office of Joseph Fox, our vice principal.

After I described the incident, Mr. Fox asked the student to explain why he attacked me. He told Mr. Fox that I looked like his father and he hated his father. My attacker was calm and soft spoken. He was suspended and instructed to return to school with his parents. I shudder to think of what might have happened had I been armed.

Years later at Taconic High School, I rushed out of the cafeteria to break up a fight between two male combatants in the rear parking lot. They were both stretched out on the pavement, and as I leaned over to pry them apart, an errant fist found my face and my eyeglasses. My glasses were broken and my right eye swelled up. While both of my hands were being used to pry them apart, I could have easily been disarmed had I been carrying a gun.

During the 2015-2016 school year, 200,000 physical assaults on teachers occurred in our nation's classrooms. If 20 percent of those teachers had been armed, those weapons would have been accessible to 40,000 assailants. In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, teachers are petitioning their school committee to take steps to curb violent attacks against them. The same effort is occurring in other locations throughout our nation. Guns do not belong in the classroom where they could easily be turned against teachers and children.

Teachers should not be expected to take on the added burden of serving as armed pawns so that we can more comfortably continue our irrational distribution of weapons of war to the general public.

Edward Udel,



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