National Teachers Strike Over School Shootings?

Mar 1, 2018 by

David Berliner, a teacher and blogger, has posted a call for a national teachers strike on May 1st to protest school shootings and to demand “sane” legislation enforcing gun control. It does not seem to have gained much traction, despite the date being “May Day:, an international holiday, especially on the socialist calendar, when it is apt, according to Berliner, that “workers should exert their strength.”

Although it shouldn’t, pointing out this confluence may alienate some teachers and the public who may feel it that politically tinges a commemoration that should stand on its own solemnity alone. Certainly none but the most fanatical critics, caught up in the romanticism of
their coveted weapons. could doubt the legitimacy of the protest because the date has revolutionary associations.

No doubt Berliner’s intentions are sincere and driven by justified moral indignation. Still it falls flat.

A strike would lend itself to misinterpretation, much of it deliberate. You can hear the shrill voices of the anti-public school and union-bashing brigades: “What do these teachers really want? What are they truly after? What is their agenda? They’re jumping at this chance to play the media and draw attention to their partisan ambitions. They want even more power and influence and they’ll willing to deny our children their education to get it. They’re selfishly exploiting a tragedy. They are cruel and ruthless.”

Berliner calls teachers “3 million of our most admired voters” who must exert their clout “by walking out of their schools if they do not get what they want.”

The role of teachers has expanded during the loss of a generation’s innocence, and they are now front-line responders who have sacrificed their own lives for their students. Since there have been 18 school shootings this year, perhaps it is natural, not only because they are nurturers, but because they are often literally in the line of fire, that there be a strike led by teachers and supported by parents.

No doubt the complexities and complications of the second amendment, issues of mental health, law-enforcement and others, are obstacles, but can be overcome, if not in the very short-term, by the collective Will of the citizenry. With the stakes so high, better a stumbling block than an abyss.

Ron Isaac

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