BY LARRY STEELE
He walked by the camera in his red OU t-shirt, splattered with dirt, hair disheveled, and cuts on his face. He told the reporter about helping rescue people from the rubble of the tornado.
He spoke of his experience at an elementary school. He told of removing a car from the hallway of the school and finding a teacher who was covering three students with her body to protect them.
She saved their lives but she was seriously injured.
His comment was “Great job, Teach,” tears welling in his eyes as he walked away toward another school to search for his own child.
There are multiple stories now emerging about teachers in Moore Public Schools putting themselves in harm’s way to save and protect their students.
They didn’t run to their cars or hide under their desks. They used their bodies, minds, and quick thinking to save hundreds of their students.
These teachers are like the ones at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut who shielded students with their bodies and hid students using their wits to protect and save hundreds from a crazed gunman.
These are the same teachers who are vilified and belittled by some conservative groups every year. They are portrayed as lazy, self-promoting, selfish members of the teacher’s unions who are not concerned with their students but only their paychecks and pensions.
Republican legislatures in red states across the country have been cutting financial support for the public schools in hopes of creating a religious private school network and summarily ending one of the greatest systems of public education in human history.
Even our own Oklahoma Republican Legislature and governor have scheduled tax cuts for the wealthy for the next two years while public education funding has been cut 20% since 2009, even while serving more and more students.
After this, I don’t want to hear that BS [baloney sandwich] anymore.
I am a public school educator going on 41 years. I could not be more proud to call myself a public school teacher after seeing what our public school teachers do daily for kids who have been written off by the powers that be in our society and especially what they do in times of crisis.
As our local militia, the National Guard, use their right to bear arms to protect the devastated areas in Moore and the volunteers continue the rescue and clean up, I hope more people see the value of our teachers.
I hope many bright young students choose this path of service in their lives.
I hope we all remember every day the words, “Great job, Teach.”
– Larry Steele lives in Norman, OK