Oregon Teacher’s Letter to Lawmakers: ‘The rights of my 5-year-old… are not important to you’

Candlelight vigil at Fort Hood

Melissa Duclos works as a writing teacher at an Oregon community college. The recent shootings at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College means new safety guidelines for teachers.

Melissa Duclos decided to pen a letter to the cowardly lawmakers who expect teachers to fight gunmen. She goes through the emergency protocols her school has for if a terrible event like an active shooter on campus were to occur. The suggestions are well-meaning, but ridiculous.

Regardless of the level of preparedness, though, it is clear that schools and teachers are being asked to do a job that they are not meant to do.

Melissa Duclos is a mother and what does her son need to know in this brave new world?

My son will start kindergarten next year. At 5 years old he and his classmates, in addition to learning reading and math, will be walked through lockdown drills by a teacher who will likely be hiding an immense terror as she has students practice finding a cozy place to hide and times how long they can remain quiet. It will probably seem like a game to him at first, but eventually my son and the rest of America’s schoolchildren who are learning the same lessons will ask why. Why have we allowed our schools to become a place where children must hide, and teachers must fight to survive?

She goes on in no uncertain terms.

I could tell them that your thoughts and prayers are with us. I could tell them we have your deepest sympathies. But I am teaching a class on argument, instructing my students on the importance of facts. So instead I will tell them the truth: They have to be prepared to hide out of the line of fire, and I to fight for our survival, because you, our lawmakers, haven’t done your jobs.

I urge you to read the entire letter here.