Picking Battles

Jersey draped over lockers

Snapshot: This case presents an opportunity for educators and administrators to open up dialogue on the matter of guns in school, with emphasis on the question of arming teachers. It highlights a number of stakeholders and points of consideration around this controversial topic, and creates space for challenging ideas and viewpoints.



Case Description: In “Picking Battles,” Florida high school social studies teacher Caitlin Crosby grapples with her school’s consideration of arming one of its popular, ex-military teachers. Ms. Crosby is opposed to the idea of arming teachers at her school and considers voicing her concerns at an upcoming school board meeting.

Crosby, who has her temporary certificate to teach but is not yet a permanently certified teacher, is afraid that speaking out against what seems to be a popular proposal will jeopardize her relationships with both faculty and students. She consults two of her friends and colleagues on this dilemma, and their conversation is the centerpiece of this case.

Over the course of their conversation a number of difficult questions arise, including:

  • Should guns be allowed on public school campuses? Who should be allowed to carry a gun at school? Whose safety (and sense of safety) is enhanced, and whose might be hindered, by the presence of an armed teacher?
  • Whose voices should be most closely considered on the matter of arming teachers? What consequences can teachers face when they choose to speak out on controversial issues? How should the beliefs and values of the community be balanced against the beliefs and values of the educator?
  • Whose voices are given priority on the matter of school safety/arming teachers? Whose voices might go unheard on these matters due to racially-contextualized power dynamics?

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See also: Policy, Politics, 9-12, K-12, K-8