Dear Republican State Rep. Dan Flynn,

Could you sleep with yourself if this was the result of the bill (Texas H.B. 868) you introduced on January 22, 2015? What if it was your child or grandchild who got into a scuffle with another student and couldn’t be stopped by the teacher who took matters into his or her own hands to intervene?

First, Let’s take a student who’s been bullied, abused, or deprived of basic needs who snaps at school. It happens to be the day they snap because they don’t have a teacher or administrator whom they can relate to (probably because this potential educator never made it to college.) Thus the teacher intervenes, hits the student hard enough to suffer blunt force trauma, where he/she dies two hours later after being arrested and then taken to the hospital. The video makes it to Instagram, Facebook, and the local news before the student passes away. The teacher is clearly at fault. Despite all of this the teacher gets placed on “paid administrative leave while a full investigation takes place,” until no charges are filed and the teacher takes a compensation package to deal with their pain and suffering.

And the lasting effects, you ask?

From the student/community perspective: The dropout rate continues to increase because you have successfully vilified our children in the place where there should feel safe and secure. A repetitive cycle of mistrust for the government, educators, and “white folks.” In a country facing some of the greatest race-related issues in the past couple of decades, we cannot afford to remain silent if there is to be progress.

From the educator perspective: The school fails to retain/hire qualified teachers because of the bad reputation the school now holds. This could potentially hurt the economy. We know how fun it is to refer to the “economy” as the main cause for change.

Thank you H.B. 868. 😀

The Lone Star State already permits teachers to have firearms in the classroom, but H.B. 868, also known as the Teacher’s Protection Act, would authorize instructors to use “force or deadly force on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored event in defense of the educator’s person or in defense of students of the school that employs the educator.” Instructors would also have the right to use deadly force “in defense of property of the school that employs the educator.” Moreover, civil immunity would be granted to those who use deadly force, meaning they would not be liable for the injury or death of student. -ThinkProgress

Why even introduce a bill that has this kind of power? Unless there’s an ulterior motive that we are unaware of…

If passed, H.B. 868 would shield teachers from prosecution for killing students who they perceive to be a threat to other students or anyone else who may be on school property. As it stands now, teachers are already immune to any disciplinary proceedings in Texas for using justified force – but not “deadly force.” -ReverbPress

When an educator spends more time with a student in the classroom, he/she should seek to understand rather than to always play defense.

We live in a world where we allow teaching program to place “teachers” in classrooms after a few short weeks of training and expect them to be able to deal with student behavior when they can’t relate to the community, school, or students.

Secondly, as the owner of a firearm, I question the double standards of allowing teachers to bring firearms into their place of business when it’s illegal for me to do the same. Actually, I’d get arrested for even having my concealed handgun on school property. School shootings are unfortunate; I “survived” one as a student at the University of Texas back in September of 2010. Let it be an example that the swift response of the law enforcement officers that they can handle it and we don’t need teacher to have that kind of enforcement potential.

But ask yourself how many teachers are truly at risk of a shoots? How many school shooting have occurred in Texas schools? …I’ll wait.

Could we stand to create tax credits for individual schools needing to contract 3rd party security services?

Would it be a better option to keep all firearms out of our schools?

I challenge you to introduce legislation to support our teachers in a positive way, where educators can be proactive rather than reactive. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Raise the teacher minimum wage and offer greater incentives for staying the classroom, rather than leaving after a few years of service. Often the turnover rate for teachers is entirely too high to make a lasting impact on a school and/or community. — It always helps to ask those directly affected what would be useful, rather than rallying up your buddies over a drink or dinner, having your intern file the paperwork, and introducing it on the House floor.
  1. Offer solution to prevent black and brown students from becoming more disadvantages, despite growing up in some of the greatest Texan cities this country has to offer. Try spending your lunch break with educators in East Austin. (Westlake and beyond shouldn’t be the main priority.) Find some common ground.
  1. Offer incentives for educators willing to take certification courses in conflict, resolution, and de-escalation. What if Texas could be an example across the country for implementing active shooter emergency plans? I definitely see this as a better option than promoting the “Teacher Protection Act,” who protects the students?
  1. Address standardized testing. I shouldn’t even have to go there the number speak for themselves. And while we’re discussing numbers…
  1. Will you so kindly introduce legislation to improve where the education rate Texas ranks in the bottom half compared to other states? We can’t call ourselves “the Great State” if we’re not producing educated people. Sorry, not sorry.
  1. Invest in getting more students in becoming How about securing a large investment for a college’s education program?

Yum. Humble pie. We don’t all need to introduce bills to prove our relevance. Congrats on winning the election. Make it worthwhile. 

I don’t know you and you don’t know me, but is this bill really the best investment for our schools?

Signed,

Jasmine S. Kyles

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