I don’t want metal detectors, or armed security guards.
I don’t want resource officers.
I don’t want schools that are impenetrable, schools that feel more and more like prisons (they already have a lot of similarities).
I don’t want to work in a place that is surrounded by armed guards because contrary to what you might think, they will make us feel less secure, not more.
I don’t want a “visible police presence.”
I certainly don’t want armed teachers.
I don’t want guns. Or bullet proof backpacks.
What I want is to live in a culture that values everyone.
What I want is for school to inspire dreaming, to be a place where kids feel challenged, and delighted, and hopeful, and creative. Where they learn to think. And to wonder.
What I want is radical change.
What I want is for no kid to feel belittled. Or so angry that he has to do real harm to himself and others.
What I want is for us to learn to talk to each other, for kids to be able to say what is on their mind, for the adults to listen.
What I want is for parents to get the help they need. For schools to be fully funded. For teachers to be recognized as the professionals they are.
What I want is for all of us to understand mental health issues, to take them seriously, to come together to figure out how to help.
What I want is for people to recognize that punishment isn’t always the answer. And that violence never is.
What I want is true community. And adults who value their children.
What I want are schools that offer dynamic learning — not testing and more testing, not one-size-fits-all curriculum, or desks that nobody can sit in for more than 10 minutes.
What I want is space to breathe, to read, to make music and art, to build and dance and sing.
I don’t want lock down drills. Or active shooter training.
I don’t want authoritative voices on the intercom or faculty meetings where no one can talk freely.
What I want is professional development that focuses on teaching, on meeting the needs of learners.
What I want is attention to the whole child and teachers who know what they’re doing.
What I want is for someone to finally—finally—have something creative and interesting to say about education in America, something that is not connected to a test, something that recognizes how our culture and lives have changed and school has not, something that acknowledges the inability to mandate sameness when we’re teaching people—with different backgrounds and interests and abilities and preparation and talents and desires.
What I want is for the people in power to listen.
To hear the student voices who are telling them to change things now.
What I want is to be armed with everything I need to do my job — enough support, enough money, enough time, enough patience, enough love.