Letter to the editor: Teacher fires a poetic shot

Why I Won’t Take a Bullet for My Students
I won’t take a bullet for my students
Not because I’m scared necessarily,
Though I’d like to be around a while longer,
To teach some more,
Direct a few more plays,
I’ve yet to tackle Ibsen or Williams, not to mention Beckett
Each day we dutifully stand for the Pledge,
Some students recite along with the principal, others like me, silent
Allegiance? Liberty? Justice? For All?
I won’t take a bullet for my students,
I like them, value their ideas, their energy, their creativity, Though at times they drive me mad, (will they ever let go of their phones)?
But I am not Captain America, the Black Panther, or Wonder Woman
I am a twenty-year veteran of public schools
Each day I try to engage them, challenge them, and laugh with them,
I remember a day after Columbine, looking out at my still new class,
They were anxious, somehow different
I was too,
But we got through, that class graduated and others,
And still others, have continued
Moving on, past high school, this ritual, this step toward possibility,
Toward hope,
I won’t take a bullet for my students,
They deserve better.
Peter Bruno

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