Imagine your teacher with a gun

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said a lot with which I disagree during that ghastly “60 Minutes” interview Sunday night.

However, she did offer a bit of wisdom that connected with me.

“60 Minutes” correspondent Leslie Stahl asked her about “arming teachers” to prevent school violence. DeVos said it’s an option that should be “looked at.” DeVos then said she couldn’t imagine her first-grade teacher being armed. It might be OK to put guns in the hands of other educators, but she has trouble wrapping her head around her own teacher packing heat.

Holy cow! I thought immediately of my own first-grade teacher at Harvey W. Scott Elementary School in Portland, Ore.

Her name was Bonnie Orth. As I picture her today in my mind’s eye, I recall thinking then, in 1955, that she reminded me of my paternal grandmother, Katina Kanelis. Grandma was 59 years of age during my first-grade year of school. I also get that as a 6-year-old, everyone older than, say, 18 seemed to be ancient, which means that Mrs. Orth likely wasn’t nearly as old as she seemed at the time.

I attended that elementary school until midway through the seventh grade, when my parents moved us to the suburbs in 1962. I’m trying to imagine any of my teachers — Mrs. Orth, Mrs. Grubb, Miss Howard, Miss Elfring, Miss Heisler, Mr. Hendrickson or Mr. McGraw — pulling a pistol out of his or her desk in the event of a shootout at school; now that I think a bit about it, maybe Mr. McGraw — bless him — could do it … maybe.

This debate, though, isn’t about whether our own teachers could draw down on a shooter. It’s about the wisdom of adding more guns to our educational environment with the aim of making it a safer place to send our children.

That is what frightens me.

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