Voices meeting features teachers' views on the state of our schools
By Lavelle Carlson
Robson Ranch Voices United (VU), a 501(c)(3) organization, is made up of Robson Ranch women who share progressive ideas and meet monthly for the dual purpose of education and philanthropy.
After the shocking Uvalde massacre, the Steering Committee invited three North Texas teachers to speak to the membership with respect to sharing what they are experiencing in the schools after that horrific event—specifically, educating the membership on how the schools and personnel are responding to various issues.
It was an eye-opening experience and, at times, moving to hear it directly from the teachers’ perspectives. We heard views from an elementary teacher, middle school teacher, and high school teacher.
The elementary teacher stressed the importance of having a supportive administration and felt like she had that. The school has new security, and doors are constantly being checked for locks.
This teacher’s opinion was that even more is needed. For example, it is not easy getting 250 children into the kitchen for safety when there is a gunman. At this point, even the best security by the best administration is not enough when you have several hundred children. She questioned getting something done outside of the school, versus the administration, to protect the children.
The perspective at the middle school is that the students know and understand what is going on. This teacher has concerns that these issues of guns and shootings will become a part of the students’ psyches.
She stressed that many plans have been looked at, including what to do when children are in bathrooms when a shooter comes in, as well as other scenarios. How do we round up all the students? Will any of the multitude of plans put in place work? What works best in a room of over 20 students? This teacher sees all of this as an unfortunate reality for the children.
However, she is optimistic that the latest shooting at Uvalde will be an impetus for change.
One concern both the elementary and middle school teachers pointed out is that they do not have Student Resource Officers (SROs) dedicated to each school. They share SROs, resulting in having an SRO on campus two to three days a week and never full time.
The last teacher presented from the perspective of a high school teacher. Uvalde had a great impact on her high school. They have two SROs, and security is constantly patrolling the halls. Unfortunately for her school, there are many ways in and out of the school, as there are more than 50 exterior doors.
There is always a lot of communication going on, but it is not always effective. She, as a concerned teacher, has devised several plans if there is an active shooter. She does talk to the students on an as-needed basis about what is going on.
Following the teachers’ presentations, the VU members had an open forum to ask many questions. The teachers responded that there has been good and effective training with the police. The teachers said they don’t have metal detectors and questioned their usefulness.
One teacher stated that they have random screenings with dogs for drugs and gunpowder. There was some discussion following the presentation on teacher shortages, salaries, and benefits. They all seemed to agree that their benefits could be improved.
VU supports young women through scholarships via the national Ignite program. If you are interested, visit www.voicesunitedrr.org.