Teachers and principals are this nation’s first responders

Dennis Sparks

Teachers and principals are first responders, but not only to school violence.

They are first responders to financial crises in families, to poverty, and to hunger.

They are first responders to child neglect and abuse.

They are first responders to physical and mental health problems in children and their families.

In short, teachers and principals are first responders to problems that our society has not addressed.

Unfortunately, teachers and principals are also the first to be blamed for society’s problems.

We can wait no longer for public officials and those who influence them to stand up to their responsibilities to young people, to public education, and to the our collective future.


5 Responses to “Teachers and principals are this nation’s first responders”

  1. 1 Jamie December 18, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Beautifully said, Dennis!

  2. 2 Carol McCoy December 18, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I appreciate your words, Dennis~and only wish they were heard
    by the influential lawmakers and legislators who are challenging
    public educators. The social ramifications from recent MI state
    legislation, have led to decreased morale
    among school educators.

  3. 3 G. Michael Abbott December 18, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Educators as first responders. I never thought of it that way, but it’s true. Society expects teachers to educate students of varying degrees of intelligence, emotional stability, economic well being, home support, and physical and mental health. And so they do, often without adequate support and often criticized for issues that are rooted societal problems. Let’s see, now teachers and principals at Newtown should have been armed??!!?? They have enough to do teaching. They don’t need to be also trained as police.


  4. 4 Bob in Texas December 18, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Thank you Dennis for daring to speak up for all the great things that go on day-in-day out in public schools all across the U.S.A. Educators have long been “first responders,” and I do not see that changing.

    My prayer is that the needless massacre of the past week will be the rallying cry for Americans to insist that the issues of mental health and violence in our culture are addressed.

  5. 5 Rick Hamrick December 18, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Thanks for stating it so eloquently Dennis.

    It is a frightening thought that billionaires, corporations and many in the general public seem to think teaching is so simple almost anyone can do it.

    Privatization here, a little competition there, sprinkle in some seed money, eliminate the union, hire the eager kids from Teach for America, burn them out in three years, and, alas, we have a system that is ill-prepared to meet its first-responder obligations. Those things just don’t fit into the Charter mission.

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