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Kansas City-area teachers reflect on reality of teaching after Texas shooting

APTOPIX Texas School Shooting
Posted at 7:18 PM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-25 23:51:36-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Some teachers in the Kansas City area say teaching the next generation of students felt heavier on Wednesday, after a deadly shooting at an elementary school in Texas.

Jason Roberts, the president of the Kansas City Federation of Teachers, says he's heard from his teachers he represents on how they feel about another school shooting.

“(They said) If they were to die from a school shooting, they would politicize the hell out of it,” he said.

Jennifer Gwinner teaches at Northeast Middle School, the same school where a student was stabbed and killed.

“We’ll take bullets for our students, which is a real fact for our profession and that is scary,” she said.

Gwinner said she's noticed some of her students become numb to situations like this.

“In all honesty, today was a normal day because I think our students are numb to school shootings,” she said. “It doesn’t affect them because it’s been around them their whole life.”

Gwinner knows urban education to be different.

“Our kids are used to seeing violence in the city on a regular basis anyway," she said. "But I have very few students who don’t know someone that’s not been shot by someone with guns."

Poverty, systemic racism, the pandemic, learning gaps and behavior issues are all socio-emotional problems that teachers must meet their students at and help deal with.

However, Gwinner says the topic of concealed carry may now be added to the list.

“Adding me to have a gun is one more thing on my plate that I have to get more training for,” she said. “Something else I have to worry about — is a kid getting it. I have too much to do than to worry about that. If I had to carry a gun, I’d be gone, I’d quit the moment it happened.”

Robert says while already under a mass exodus of teachers, retention and safe schools are important.

“They don’t feel supported by administration across the country, they don’t feel valued, schools are unsafe and pay is a factor,” Roberts said.

Gwinner said that at this moment, she's not optimistic much changes will be made to address the issue.

“Do I think there should be sweeping changes? Yes. Do I believe they are going to be? No,” Gwinner said.

Teachers are asking for our support these last few days of school and to also talk about conflict with your children and how to resolve it without violence.