Mrs. Whitworth is ALWAYS Right

Have you heard?  Mrs. Whitworth is ALWAYS right….  I overhead this said by several of my students to a new classmate who was questioning how things were done in Room One.  They were defending the Room One way, and their teacher, to someone who didn’t quite grasp the obvious.  I try my best to be fair, consistent, and loving in my classroom.  Sometimes I think this is lost on many of my children… but maybe not. When it comes to having my back, my room full of 6 and 7 year olds will willingly let an outsider know what’s what.  It was the best moment of my day.  That, and having one of my struggling readers raise his hand to read aloud to the class AND listening to him read successfully… Yes, there was joy in Room One today.

Oh, and did I mention, Mrs. Whitworth is always right?


Thank You Sam, Dick, and Fred

Those on the left, have been calling for something to be done, for our leaders to step up and stand up, even in a symbolic way.  We have been watching and hoping for action towards changes in the culture surrounding guns in our country.  We are sure that it will take many different tactics to have any impact on the growing number of mass shootings in our country.

Yes, the students of Parkland have moved the country and their voices have reached many people… we are beginning to move, to be moved, to think past what we have been unwilling to let go of.  But it is not our politicians who are making change, change is coming from the leaders of large corporations. Walmart, Kroger (Fred Meyer), Dick’s Sporting Goods and many others have decided that they will take action and say we will do what we have the power to do.

No one wants to be responsible to having sold a gun to the next mass shooter.

I saw the sign hanging at the gun counter in Walmart…  ‘As of March 6th, 2018, we will no longer be selling any gun to anyone under 21 years of age’…

Thanks Sam, Dick and Fred for doing what our elected officials are afraid to do. I hope that it makes a difference, but even if it doesn’t, it makes a statement, it makes people think, and it may move us towards a safer, kinder country.

Let’s hope that Washington reads the writing on the wall, listens to the American people and follows the lead of these retail giants. Hopefully this is only a beginning and our politicians need to open their eyes because we WILL be voting in November and if they are not ready to take a stand they may be packing their bags.

A Gun Owner DID Pull The Trigger

We can say that it is unfair to blame citizens who legally own their guns for the horror of Parkland.  We can say that the shooter was troubled, dangerous, mentally unstable, and had been reported to the authorities…. even had he not been reported one thing we know is true…. he was a gun owner and he had not broken any law in getting his guns.  Up until the moment he walked into the school he was one of many, many scary kids across our country.  Every middle school and high school has them, they sit quietly in the back of the classroom, don’t participate in the band, drama, leadership or sports, they are not getting invited to hang out with friends on the weekends, they probably don’t have dinner with their families and they are quietly (or not so quietly) angry.  How many children will need to be reported and once reported, what will we do about them?  As a teacher, we are on the front lines of this recognition and I am sure will be required to develop a plan to solve this problem.  Between teaching grammar, how to form a five paragraph essay, and differentiating equations, we will be figuring out how to identify and impact the lives of these children who may snap.

What makes a mass shooter?  Many of these children will make it through their troubled childhood and become part of society… others may not.  But one element is certain, to become a mass shooter you have to have a gun.  The shooter was a gun owner.

You may be a responsible gun owner… anyone who has not committed a crime is a responsible gun owner, until they are not.

7 out of 10 Americans believe in tightening gun control… let’s make it 10 out of 10…  Just because owning a gun is a right does not mean it has to be easy to own a gun.  You can’t buy vodka at Walmart in Oregon, but you can buy an AR-15… there is something wrong with that picture…

Remember, when he woke up February 14th, the shooter was a legal gun owner.

Changing One Mind

This is the letter I am sending out to each and every Senate and House Leader, our President and Vice President… I have printed off 21 letters… I am trying my best to make a change… I can only hope

Dear Senator/Leader/Elected Official,

I am writing this to try and change one mind… yours.  I know that we can both agree that mass shootings are horrendous, that no innocent life should be lost and that school children should be safe in their classrooms.  We can agree that it is a complex problem full of many complex issues.  It is also politically heavy for both sides.

We should also be able to agree that IF something can be done to prevent even one more of these attacks we should try to do it.  No one wants one more funeral or one more speech about ‘thoughts and prayers’…  Not you, not me, and not the families of murdered children.

After so much bluster, looking at the arguments on both sides, hearing the anguish and anger from victims’ families we should be able to agree that to solve this problem we MUST take a four pronged approach.  One change will not be enough and if we are committed to making a change for the better in our country we will have to spend money, make sacrifices, and empower the government.

In my state, Oregon, as in many other states, there is no waiting period to buy any type of gun.  If your background check does not come back within three days (it usually comes back instantly) you can get the gun without the check.  Other states require a 3-10 day waiting period… the federal government could make this true across the country.  Consider it a chance for someone buying a gun out of anger, or in a rage, to have a chance to think more clearly and cool down.

So, #1 make nationwide waiting periods to buy any gun

The AR – 15, and guns like them, are meant to do one thing, kill.  We do not need to have this gun available to the general public. You know it, I know it, any reasonable person should agree that we don’t NEED this type of gun. As someone who was elected to serve our country YOU must sometimes make the difficult decisions for the good of all.  YOU need to step up, as the Australian government did, and say that part of your job is to think about the welfare of the people who may not be as educated or privileged as you.  You must make this decision about these weapons without worrying about re-election.

So, #2 ban semi-automatic assault rifles

We all like to point to mental illness as the key factor in these mass shootings.  Yes, mental distress, instability, trauma, lack of belonging, lack of empathy and losing touch with reality all play a role in these tragedies.  It is difficult to predict who is just shooting off their mouths as teenagers and who has a real intent to carry out horrendous acts.

So, #3 federally fund a school psychologist in every school… this would be in addition to a school counselor. 

Preparation in schools for active shooter situations is a reality for every school aged child.  We have drills where we turn out the lights, hide in a corner and practice being as quiet as possible… the children in my care are six and seven years old… This weekend I went into work and planned which furniture I could quickly drag to the corner of my classroom to better barricade my 24 children in case of an active shooter.  Do I want to live like this?  Do I want to practice this plan on Tuesday?  No, but I will.  I will practice perching on the high shelf next to my doorway so that if someone manages to get through my locked door, I can jump on them and fight to save the lives of my children.  This is not a joke.

So, #4 federally fund one police officer for every school (two to very large campuses with multiple entrances)

Will this be enough?  Probably not, but it is a start.  We need to somehow quell the anger and loneliness these shooters feel, we need to make America kind and loving again.  I am hoping that YOU have the courage to do your part, to stand up to people who elected you and say, I am here to make your life better, to protect your children, and this is what we need to do as a country.  Sometimes we need to help people be their better selves, we need to lead the way.

Our children are counting on you. Don’t let them down.


Allison Whitworth

First Grade Teacher


Breaking News – Schools Are Not Safe

The mass shooting of 17 innocent people, many of them children, is no longer Breaking News.  It is just over 72 hours ago that a school was shot up by an AR-15… the most used gun by mass shooters and CNN has moved back to the Russian involvement in our election.  Even more we are looking deep into the failings of our FBI to act on a tip.  They are playing the blame game when what we need to look at, as a society, is how we continually allow this to happen. We are a society that is committed to gun rights and gun ownership.

This is NOT about me wanting to take your guns away for some hippy-dippy, lib-tard, bleeding heart, or far-left idea because I want to ruin your life. I want to save lives.  I care about making this country safer for all of us and you being able to buy a semi-automatic AR-15 or similar gun does not fit into that plan.  If your need to shoot a high powered gun outweighs the rights of a 14 year old to live then you should join the military.  There is no reasonable way that owning that type of gun is a necessity, it is a want.  If gun manufacturers made a ‘gun’ that shot off some kind of explosive devise that could level a house, there would be someone out there that would want one just for the fun of it, and because one had not been created yet, there would be no regulations on it and people who have no military training would be able to bring one into your neighborhood.  Although I wish there were no guns, I am not going to work to take away your hunting rifle, or the hand gun you keep locked in a closet, but I want to be reasonable, I want us all to be reasonable.

Do you really want your child’s first grade teacher, the one who smiles and tells your child that she is glad they came to school that day, who puts bandaides on their invisible boo-boos, who sings them to the carpet and helps blow their noses when you are not around…. do you want her to have a gun strapped to her butterfly dress, just under her bubblegum pink sweater? A hand gun? A more serious firearm? How quickly can she jump up from behind the library corner’s bookcase, assess a situation, aim and shoot at someone who has planned to do her harm? Who will be paying to train her, who will pay for her gun?

I spent my run thinking about where I would have my class hide, my class is too large to hide in our library corner… I would quickly move furniture, drag bookcases, have them lie flat on the stomachs and I would perch on the shelf by the door ( believe me, I have practiced ) ready to jump on any one who tried to enter through our always locked door. We will rehearse this when we come back from our long weekend.  This is the world we live in because we are unwilling to fix this problem… it is about more than mental health, it is about more than reporting scary talk, it is about more than preparation, it is also about gun control and until we can all agree that we MUST more tightly regulate guns and fund mental health professionals in EVERY school, as well as give law enforcement more power to search homes and confiscate weapons, we will continue to live in fear, in a country where children may not come home from school.

Breaking News ~ our country is broken ~ schools are not safe

Making A Difference

I went into teaching to make a difference.  But, time and again, shooting after shooting, it has become clear that I can not make a difference the way it matters the most.  I am at a loss, and I am feeling hopeless.  I cried all the way home from school yesterday imagining the pain of those mothers and fathers, imagining my own children…

What we need is a national hotline where families and educators can call about a child or person who is violently angry and the authorities take them into protective custody, evaluates them over the course of several days, and puts them into a mandatory program while confiscating all weapons from that person and that person’s home.

We need to stop selling guns… AR-15s and, in my opinion, all others… why do you really NEED to go hunting… you don’t … you WANT to go hunting…  if you can’t afford meat at the market, become vegetarian… does your love of meat, and family tradition usurp the rights of children and teachers to attend school without fear of being shot?

I hear a call, on a conservative news station, for the best minds in our country to figure this out.  Are you kidding me?  We love violence in this country… our video games, our sports, our love of guns, our anger towards the other… these news people act as if this is something we need to figure out… We know what the problem is… we know that the accessibility of guns allows impulse to easily be acted upon… we know that children who do these things (or commit other violent crimes) have shown signs for a long time.

Last night my husband said that across the nation all teachers should hold a strike until our legislatures do something.  On NPR today I heard a retired teacher call for all teachers, administrators, and students to stay home and say ‘NO MORE’!  We have been in crisis for years… When is it time to take a stand?

It does not matter what the shooter’s motive was, it doesn’t matter his ethnicity, or the tragedy he has suffered in his life… it mattered that he was able to get a gun and that although people knew he was troubled, the hands of the authorities were tied.  You want your freedom, your rights, your guns, your privacy… all of those families want their children back…

What are you willing to give up to keep this from happening again?  How can we make a difference if we don’t think beyond our rights?

My heart is broken

We Wish Him Well

He says he’s innocent…. of course he does.  The only men stepping up and saying they did what their accusers said they did are paying the price, they have stood up, apologized, then stepped down. The message from the president is clear… he does not care what you do in your personal life as long as you are working hard for him and you are loyal.  In this #MeToo era he is dismissing accusers as vindictive and politically motivated meant to bring down his presidency.

I am not saying that sometimes people are falsely accused, I know from personal experiences that sometimes things are interpreted based on a history of the victim where an innocent comment or touch on the shoulder is twisted into something it is not or someone using the system to ruin someone’s life… THAT is completely different from domestic abuse, molestation, sexual harassment, or rape.

But THIS, this is women coming forward showing what happened to them behind closed doors, at the hands of a man helping run our country. Upstanding men, who are polite and respectful, who are hardworking, who do a very good job for an organization, can be violent and abusive at home.  They can have anger issues, they can keep their personal lives hidden, and, of course, they will claim to be innocent.

Our president doesn’t care about the ‘alleged’ victims… he has victims of his own… he wants to wish the man accused of the abuse well, give him the benefit of the doubt, and protect his own image.

What message are we sending to the men of our country? We need to speak more clearly about expectations.  Education for all is key… teach your children to respect themselves and others, and expect respect and kindness from your own partner. We all know about the cycle of abuse… well wishing never breaks that cycle.