Teachers Are Using Social Media to List the “Weapons” They’d Like to Be Armed With
On the afternoon of Valentine’s Day 2018, a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Tragically, 17 people were killed. Among them were faculty members who put their lives on the line to protect their students at all costs.
After the massacre—one of the nation’s deadliest—students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas have responded with immense sadness but also a vocal determination that this type of incident cannot happen again; they empowered their rallying cry with an apt and powerful hashtag: #NeverAgain. The hashtag campaign, which has since gone viral, led to a meeting with President Trump. At a listening session, several of the Parkland students pleaded with Trump to enact stricter gun laws.
Largely ignoring their appeals, the President later said in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that certain teachers should instead be armed with guns. “These teachers love their students,” he said. “And these teachers are talented with weaponry and with guns. And they feel safe.” He tweeted a similar sentiment, too, stating that it should be “up to states” to implement these programs in their schools.
Trump’s idea has not gone over well with students, parents, politicians, and especially teachers. Educators contend that giving some “good guys with a gun” won’t fix the nationwide gun problem. Additionally, it shouldn’t be a teacher’s responsibility to learn how to carry and use a deadly weapon as they educate students—often with limited resources that they supplement out of their own pocket.
Like the Parkland students, teachers have taken to social media to express their concerns and frustrations. Using the hashtag #ArmMeWith, educators are advocating for the things they’d actually want to be “armed with.” And as you might’ve guessed, it’s not a firearm. Teachers want things like more available supplies or better emotional support for all students. Some call for smaller class sizes to help them connect with all of their pupils.
#ArmMeWith was created by two educators named Brittany Wheaton and Olivia Bertels. They live in Utah and Kansas, respectively, but they met through Instagram. Together, they have upwards of 100,000 followers on their two individual accounts and used their following to amplify the #ArmMeWith message.
“Since teachers are the individuals in the classroom when it happens, I like to think we know what’s best for our students,” Wheaton explained. “If you’re an educator, you know that [more guns] is not a solution to stopping the violence that’s happening in our schools. Knowing that, I decided to start the #armmewith movement, where ACTUAL teachers give their solutions to what’s happening.”
If you’re an educator who wants to join #ArmMeWith, there is a free Google template that you can download and make your own.