Teachers around the nation are using the hashtag #ArmMeWith on social media to push for an increase in what they say they really need in schools: funding, mental health resources, school supplies and books, not guns.
The #ArmMeWith movement is a reaction to President Donald Trump’s call for some teachers to carry concealed weapons in schools, even proposing that teachers receive bonuses for helping with security. Trump made the statements following the Parkland, Florida, school shooting last week that claimed the lives of 17 people.
Some educators, such as Utah teacher Kasey Hansen, said carrying a concealed weapon in school is “more of a solution” than hiding in a corner and waiting if an armed intruder enters the classroom.
But others, including the president of the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, called arming teachers a horrible idea and said an educator’s handgun would be no match for the assault-style weapons often wielded by attackers.
“The solution is to ban these military weapons from people who shouldn't have them,” Weingarten said.
“Teachers already shoulder a huge burden when it comes to educating properly, due to lack of funding, support and resources and making sure their students are taken care of emotionally,” Brittany Wheaton, an English teacher in Utah, told CNN. “Asking us to now carry the burden of having the responsibility to kill is irreparably damaging, even if we never have to discharge our weapon.”
Wheaton, along with Kansas teacher Olivia Bertels, launched the movement. According to BuzzFeed, the two met through Instagram and have individually developed significant followings on the platform, often sharing snapshots of their classrooms and inspirational messages.
Following the Florida high school shooting, Wheaton reached out to Bertels said it was “time for teachers to demand their voices be heard.”
Here’s a look at the burgeoning social media movement:
#armmewith the resources and funding needed to help students experiencing mental health issues, NOT guns. Teachers, now (more than ever) is the time to take and stand and say we will not accept another one of our students being lost to another senseless school shooting. We have to strive for MORE. Our students deserve it. Call, write, march... do whatever you can to show enough is enough— we NEED stronger gun laws, we NEED funding for mental health issues, we NEED our students to L I V E so they can change the future of this country. #resist #standup #guncontrol #enoughisenough #notonemore #gunsafety #schoolsafety #mentalhealth #teachertribe #iteachtoo #teachersmatter
I usually stay out of political topics but I feel very passionate about this. Don't arm me with weapons, arm my students with services that help them cope, services that when needed are there, relationships that keep them accountable #armmewith pic.twitter.com/bVER6g2kXM— The Panko Post (@thepankopost) February 21, 2018
Social-emotional learning is just as important as academic learning! #armmewith time in my day and space in my curriculum to encourage and support the development of the WHOLE child. To do this effectively we also need to limit class sizes and caseloads, and increase essential support staff to ensure each child receives the attention he/she needs and deserves.
We have the chance to make change. It is time that we say enough is enough. Arming teachers is not a solution. We need funding and resources to better help students who are experiencing mental health crises. We need smaller class sizes to better know our students and their families. And we need laws to help prevent weapons from being easily accessible to all. Join the movement, #armmewith and take a stand against gun violence and mass murder in our schools. #enoughisenough #resist #guncontrol #standup #notonemore #gunsafety #mentalhealth #love #educatorsagainstgunviolence