Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:
The Valdosta Daily Times on arming school teachers:
During a congressional hearing that led to stripping Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of her House committee appointments, the controversial lawmaker talked about a school gun incident at her high school when she as a teenager.
A former teacher told us Greene suggested it would have been better if there had been law-abiding people with a license carry permit who had weapons at the school.
To be clear, no one was injured in the lockdown at Greene’s high school back then.
An unarmed teacher was able to disarm a student who had brought a weapon to school.
Greene and her fellow students were unharmed. How could the outcome be better than that?
Arming teachers is a horrible idea.
Quite simply, teachers need to teach.
More guns in schools is not a solution to a crazed gunman entering a school and opening fire with an AR-15.
More trained and armed police officers, metal detectors, single secured entry points, panic buttons, fencing, safe rooms are all things that should be considered — but teachers with guns is not the answer.
We do not think this is a Second Amendment issue or even a question of gun control.
Guns in the classroom, even if the teacher has a concealed carry permit, just creates too many possibilities of things that could go tragically wrong.
We understand the argument that some teachers may be former police officers, military personnel or avid hunters familiar with weapons, but that is the exception not the rule.
Having a handgun permit, going to a shooting range and shooting at targets, animals or even going through one or two active-shooter classes, does not mean you would be able to defend yourself or anyone else when confronted with someone who has a semi-automatic long gun and no regard for human life, his own or anyone else’s.
In this country, public schools have long been gun-free zones and we believe it should stay that way.
To be clear, we are not opposed to armed, trained, certified police officers or deputies in our schools. That’s their job. That is what they are trained to do. They are the experts when it comes to safety and security.
Shooting assailants is not the job of a school teacher and it shouldn’t be.
Arming school teachers is just a bad idea.
The Rome News-Tribune on Black History Month:
“You are young, gifted and Black, We must begin to tell our youth There’s a world waiting for you, Yours is a quest that’s just begun”
In 1969, singer, songwriter and civil rights activist Nina Simone penned these lyrics based on a play by writer Lorraine Hansberry. These lyrics were a call to action for young Black Americans to pursue their potential. And they were a call to action for the nation in general to recognize that potential and to nurture it.
And they have struck a chord with us as we join the nation in celebrating Black History Month.
This is the time when we pay particular attention to the contributions African Americans have made to every aspect of our history and culture. It is the time when we highlight the work of Black inventors, teachers, doctors, artists, politicians, musicians, civil rights leaders, CEOs, farmers and scientists.
But it’s just as important to recognize the work that Black Americans are doing now — today — in our own community.
The black men and woman who have assumed leadership roles locally are setting an example for our youth. Police Chief Denise Downer-McKinney, former Mayor Bill Collins, City Planner Art Newell, Bishop Nealon Guthrie, Sandra Hudson of the Housing Authority, attorney Chris Twyman. These are people whose work and commitment to the community surpass any racial lines.
Willie Mae Samuel, Greg Shropshire and Charles Love. These are folks who work diligently to to empower the black community while fostering the messages of unity, upliftment and positive change.
And we must commend the next generation of black community members who are taking an active role in changing Rome and Floyd County. As Junior Service League President, attorney Deana Perry is leading her organization toward helping those of all races who are less fortunate. And young muralist Xaivier Ringer uses her creativity and artistic talents to make Rome a brighter, more colorful place spreading beauty and joy in a very visible and tangible way.
Sherica Bailey, Jarrod “J.J.” Johnson, John Mays, Mike Dean and other Black entrepreneurs have taken their place within the business sector, helping to grow various industries across the county.
We can’t possibly name everyone whose work or presence in the community has had a positive impact. But we can say thank you. To the Black Americans who, through their work and dedication, have made Rome and Floyd County a better place, we appreciate you.
And we hope that our community continues to support, encourage and empower the next generation of Black Americans that they may achieve great things to the benefit of us all.
“In the whole world you know, There’s a million boys and girls
Who are young, gifted and Black, And that’s a fact!”
The Brunswick News on teachers becoming eligible for the coronavirus vaccine:
Protect us or let us stay home and do our jobs. That is what more and more educators are standing up and demanding in Georgia and across the rest of the nation today, and they have a valid point. They are not immune to COVID-19.
It’s an argument going on right this very moment, prompting school officials like the Atlanta Board of Education to request that the state consider teachers a priority for the coronavirus vaccine. They would join others in being among the first to receive a hopeful shield against sickness or worse.
Teachers have a greater risk of picking up the COVID-19 virus than many in other professions. They are exposed to hundreds of students daily, preteens and teens from every kind of environment imaginable. There are those who are bound to show up to school unknowingly infected. Why wouldn’t teachers demand to be somewhere at the head of the line for one of the vaccines?
Their jobs are critical. They’re responsible for what tomorrow will look like and the next day, as well as the day after that and so on and so on. They fill young minds with knowledge daily, boys and girls who will one day take over the reins of leadership and government. It’s a tall enough order without all the added distraction and fear of coronavirus lurking about in the classroom or hallways.
Facts say it all. In 2020, upwards of 530 educators contracting the coronavirus died, according to the American Federation of Teachers union.
In Cobb County, a county with the third highest number of COVID-19 cases among the state’s 159 counties, three in the field of education have succumbed to the pandemic. The death toll includes two teachers and one paraprofessional.
Some school systems understand the risks teachers would be taking and have opted to rely totally on virtual school. It’s the next best thing to being there and can be pulled off without jeopardizing the health of students, teachers or the family members of either.
As long as COVID-19 or one of its variants remains on the prowl, everyone is at risk, teachers included. The very least we can do is provide them with some kind of shield against this potentially deadly virus.