Mitchell Robinson, professor of music education at Michigan State University, saw an article that he found alarming.

The article to which he objects appeared in GQ (Gentlemen’s Quarterly).

The article begins:

As Pam cracks the door to the front office, her hand creeps to the gun strapped at her hip. She’s in her 40s, with dark-rimmed glasses and a ponytail poking through the back of a baseball cap. At five foot six, she is not an imposing presence, but then again, what kindergarten teacher is?

She peers inside and sees a parent—Mr. Brown, who she’d heard was locked in a custody dispute with his ex-wife—shouting at Betsy, the school secretary, something about how he wants to see his son. And then he takes out a pistol of his own and holds it right up to her head.

Pam is lucky; Mr. Brown doesn’t notice her. She draws, her elbows locking out as her eyes settle between the sights. But in the split second before her index finger depresses the trigger, she hesitates. I have to try, right?

“FREEZE!” she shouts.


Mr. Brown murders Betsy and swings the barrel toward Pam, cursing.


Pam sends a bullet into him, and he staggers back; a second round to his chest, and he crumples to the ground. She exhales, unsure what to do next, standing over two lifeless bodies when there could have been one.

Just another day at school for a busy kindergarten teacher.

Robinson’s response:

If you’re a teacher who reads all of this and thinks, “Well, that’s not me. I’m different. I’ve had a gun for years. I’m a hunter, and a responsible gun owner. I’m all about gun safety. I was in the military. I just want to protect my students and colleagues”, then you are precisely the kind of person who should never be permitted to have a loaded weapon in a school. You’re exactly the sort of person that shouldn’t be allowed to carry a deadly weapon into a room full of children looking at you as someone who cares about their learning, and their well-being.

If you really and truly believe that the best way for you to protect your students is with a gun, then please quit your job immediately, enroll in a police academy, get properly trained and prepared to use a weapon in live-action situations–not by a 1 day “professional development seminar,” like we pretend to train and prepare teachers to do all sorts of things we don’t really value enough to do the right way (like “blood borne pathogens training,” and “sexual harassment prevention training,” and “court-mandated reporter training.” ProTip for Teachers: if the PD session you’re sitting through has the word “training” in its title, no one in the Central Office really cares if you actually learn how to do the thing you’re being trained on–it was either an unfunded mandate from the state education department and/or legislature, or your superintendent thought it would “look good” if parents and other school budget voters saw teachers were being given that training.)–and get out of the classroom.