Backlash on a Granada Hills Charter High School Spanish teacher has ensued following an incident of a student being beaten by a peer while in the classroom. The event highlights the pressure put on teachers to risk their safety during unprecedented situations.
Following the rapidly rising number of national school shootings since the year 2019, the most prevalent discourse involves the responsibilities educators have to protect their students. Although comparing a teacher’s responsibilities during a school shooting to when a student physically assaults another in the classroom may seem a far reach, an underlying question stands: How far do we expect educators to go to protect students at the expense of their own safety?
As the authoritative figure in a classroom, teachers are responsible for creating a comfortable working environment that allows their kids to learn effectively. However, there is a constant possibility that the peace they seek to maintain is out of their hands; as shown in the incident in Granada Hills Charter High School this past week.
It is important to see the situation from a humanitarian standpoint and disregard the fact that the adult in the room was a teacher, much less an adult. As a human, the teacher was posed with a horrific event and reacted in a way that his mind and body allowed at the time. It is not in anyone’s place to judge how an individual’s instincts express themselves during a traumatic incident.
As a community, we should not see this event as a way to blame the teacher or the students. Instead, we view the situation as us against the problem.
In light of violence on school grounds and post-pandemic acclimation, there is a theme of deteriorating mental health among students. It is crucial for schools to acknowledge the difficulties and insecurities students experience as they transition back into a more vulnerable working environment. We should not put the responsibility for a widespread mental health issue on individual teachers when what they signed up for was to educate and not to risk their own safety.
Samantha Caitlyn Garcia