I have spent my working life in several schools, first as a high school teacher and then as a textbook publishing consultant. After reading Michelle Darnell’s Feb. 23 indictment of public schools as “incubators” for school shootings, I am flabbergasted.
It’s her conclusion that’s not only dishonest and simplistic, but also staggeringly wrong. Worse, her letter is filled with assertions and rhetoric and devoid of proof.
Darnell begins by asking: “What have all the school shooters in recent history had in common? They all attended public schools.” She then charges to the specious conclusion that public schools “have become incubators for the sort of tragedies we are seeing today.”
Maybe if the public schools where I taught or worked as a consultant were as she described —“impersonal” and “sterile” with kids “falling through the cracks”—I’d agree with her. But they’re not. Knowing that, it’s hard to read such a dismissive, biased and spurious conclusion.
Darnell goes on to assert: “It is time to consider whether guns are the problem.” No, it’s past time to ask this question because the answer is, “Yes.” Guns are also a problem in homes, movie theaters, shopping malls, rock concerts, and commercial banks. Are these places incubators, too?
Let me offer an analogy: 90 percent of all financial-institution robberies occur at commercial banks. Only 8 percent occur at credit unions, and 2 percent at savings and loans. Applying Darnell’s “logic” argues for us to close commercial banks and only do business at CUs and S&Ls, right?
Darnell intimates that public schools are unable to see “warning signs early on.” Certainly, mental illness is a reality, but a disturbed student is less of a threat when not armed with a gun.
Clearly, Darnell and I have opposite agendas. She wants to dismantle and defund public schools and keep the guns. I want to support the majority of American teachers and students by strengthening our public schools and banning automatic and semi-automatic weapons.