Psa 34:4 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
Psalm 34:4 was a verse that I rested on after the events of March 13, 1986. I mentioned what happened on that date in the Preface of my book, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, where I wrote, “I almost did not live to finish my editorial work on the New Treasury, for I was shot in the head by an unknown assailant on March 13, 1986, when I had typed the text only as far as 1 Samuel 3. The Lord miraculously spared my life. During my recovery, I kept working on the book, often without income. This time away from teaching permitted a more thorough revision and expansion than I originally planned.”
I was knocked to the ground by the force of the shot, and I fell into the mud of the parking lot, breaking and losing my glasses. I was escorted—literally carried—by two teachers to the ambulance which had pulled up to the front entrance of the school where students were entering for the start of the school day. The students were laughing and making fun of me as if they were rejoicing that I had been shot. One of the two teachers was so upset at the behavior of the students that he gave his two-week notice and quit teaching.
I had been harassed and bullied by students every day at Southeastern High School. These were not my own students. My own students usually treated me with respect and appreciated that I was doing all I could to help them improve their reading comprehension skills. Other students came to my classroom door to hurl insults at me. They called me names. They constantly threatened me with physical harm. They threw textbooks at me and broke my glasses on one occasion. Before that two students broke into my locked classroom, ordered the ninth grade students to stand along the walls of the classroom, while the two intruders proceeded to hurl desks at me. I was hit in the head, and required stitches, and was out of school for a month recovering. When I appeared in court, the judge “hurled the book” at the two students and ordered them to be jailed for two years.
Another time a girl with a very short skirt came into my room during my world history class and sat in the upper-level seating and mocked me, asking if I enjoyed what I saw. She said she bet that I had never before seen what she was showing me. All the while she was “calling me out of my name” and using very foul language. When I reported the incident, absolutely nothing was done to her for such outrageous behavior.
Kindly forgive my rant, but when I read online where thankfully only a very few of my Christian acquaintances are posting “memes” and writing comments about “white privilege,” they do not know how hard it was for me to try to serve the Lord as a teacher in the black community when I am not black because of the persistent racism I was subjected to on the part of unruly students at Southeastern High School. I was in the minority, and I certainly was not benefiting from any so-called “white privilege.” Christian people of color need to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23) and stop playing this unwinnable game of always being the victim, and always dwelling on the past.
What is needed is a focus on the present and how to reach minority students to help them be successful in life.
I learned by direct experience that what most students need is to (1) increase their level of reading comprehension and (2) learn to embrace moral and spiritual principles that will guide them well in life.
I solved the reading comprehension problem by writing my own self-instructional reading program which raised student achievement an average of two years in a single semester.
I solved the morality issue by sharing daily proverbs and quotations with my students and having them write about them. Students told me that the proverb and quotation weekly writing assignment turned their lives around.
Even visitors to my classroom (college coaches, college admissions officers on career day, etc.) remarked at how different my students were compared to the rest of the students they observed whether in other classrooms at my school or other schools in the city. They said my students were better behaved, more respectful, more focused, and knew where they wanted to go and knew how they were going to get there.
I have been the victim of “gun violence.” But I do not believe that we need more “gun control.” We need to understand and follow the Bill of Rights and Constitution in this country.
The First Amendment DOES NOT forbid me as a teacher from teaching morality and moral values to my students, including the morality of the Bible. That is what is needed to restore morality to this country.
The Second Amendment has a clause that reads “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.” Most judges and legislators and even our current President, President Trump, seem not to fully understand what that clause means.
Guns are not the problem. People are. This includes people in law enforcement and the FBI who KNOWINGLY ignore alerts they receive that if followed up properly would prevent most of the “mass shootings” at places like our public schools and other “gun free zones.” Gun-free zones are a very bad idea. Criminals know they can carry out their murderous plans without the fear that anyone will be there who will shoot back.
Many if not most of the shooters in the mass murders that have taken place are between the ages of 16 and 25 who were also on the kind of drugs or medicines that contain warnings that the medicine is not to be given to patients in that age range because of the small but dangerous risk that the side effects of the drugs may lead them to commit such acts.
It looks to me like it is not a problem of guns but of improperly prescribed medicine.
It is not the problem of guns but of law enforcement officials who fail to act on alerts they receive that would let them know someone may engage in a mass shooting at a school.
It is not the problem of guns but of school administrators at all levels who gloss over student felonious behavior and fail to report such behavior so the school violence statistics won’t look so bad. It goes back to the moral principle I have stated often before: Where there is no penalty, there is no law.
I am thankful that most of my minority students came from family backgrounds that were solidly Christian. My students at Southeastern High School and at Denby High School displayed more appreciation to me as a Christian teacher who cared for them than students I taught at a Christian school in Florida.
It was not my own students who gave me trouble, but the undisciplined and disrespectful students from elsewhere in the school who because of their assured anonymity felt free to cause me as much trouble as they could. And that problem lies squarely at the feet of school administrators who did not maintain proper control of the school. At Southeastern High School more students were wandering the halls during class time than were in classes. No wonder such schools start out with a ninth-grade class of 1000 students and graduate only 300 of them four years later.