Intersection of Race and Guns in Schools: Resources for Teaching in These Times - National Council of Teachers of English
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Intersection of Race and Guns in Schools: Resources for Teaching in These Times

This blog was written by the NCTE Committee Against Racism and Bias in the Teaching of English.


The members of the Committee Against Racism and Bias have been closely watching the rhetoric surrounding gun violence in schools because we know that its intersection with racism affects all of our students. Yolanda Whitted shared what the March for Our Lives meant to her in a timely blog post that speaks to the gun violence that has plagued our country and our schools. Inspired by Yolanda and teachers like her, we would like to offer additional resources and continued dialogue with teachers who are committed to nonviolence and conflict resolution and with those who worry about the “hardening” of schools, which escalates the school-to-prison pipeline that already exists and disproportionately affects students and teachers of color.

The intersection of gun violence and racism in schools is a conversation that may be new to some NCTE members, but it is not new in many communities of color, where students have been engaging in these conversations for decades, seeking justice and demanding change. Yet often, their cries have fallen on deaf ears. Students in Baltimore and Ferguson raised cries of alarm and calls for action and justice when their communities were literally under fire. Parkland students, in turn, have attempted to share their spotlight more widely with attempts at intersectional protest. The vitriol of hate and the lies of conspiracy theories that have been spewed toward all students who speak out must be denounced.

Conversations around the intersections of race and gun violence are becoming more common in schools right now. Here we share resources and readings to help NCTE members and their students become more informed about these issues and thoughtfully navigate those important discussions.


Tweet Threads:


Young Adult Books Incorporating Issues of Gun Violence and Race:

The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas

Yummy, Gregory Neri

All American Boys, Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Shooter, Walter Dean Myers

How It Went Down, Kekla Magoon

Long Way Down, Jason Reynolds

The Brimstone Journals, Ronald Koertge

Dear Martin, Nic Stone

I Am Alfonso Jones, Tony Medina

Ghost Boys, Jewell Parker Rhodes

Tyler Johnson Was Here, Jay Coles

Bang, Barry Lyga

People Kill People, Ellen Hopkins

Taking Aim: Power and Pain, Teens and Guns; a collection of short stories and essays by YA Authors; edited by Michael Cart.


Other Notable Texts:

Bullets into Bells—Poets & Citizens Respond to Gun Violence, a poetry collection, edited by Brian Clements, Alexandra Teague, and Dean Rader

America Is a Gun,” by Brian Bilston


Articles Discussing the Intersection of Guns and Race:

Black People Are Not Ignoring Black on Black Crime, The Atlantic

How a Death in Ferguson Sparked a Movement in America, CBS

Black Children Will Be the Victims of Armed Teachers, Time

Black Teens Have Been Fighting for Gun Reform for Years, Teen Vogue

People of Color Respond to Parkland, NPR

The Intersection of Guns and Race, Urban Milwaukee

Is 2016 at the Intersection of Guns and Race?, The Hill

The Intersection of Policing and Race, Center for American Progress

Guns and Race: The Different Worlds of Black and White Americans, Brookings

We Need to Talk About Black Lives and Gun Violence After the Florida Shooting, HuffPost Black Voices

From Birmingham to Parkland, Celebrate the Power of Young Voices, Teaching Tolerance

Manual High School Students Speak Out about Ferguson and Race, Chalkbeat

Adults Like Us When We Have Strong Test Scores but Hate Us When We Have Strong Opinions, Instagram

How Black Americans Are Left Out of Both Sides of the Gun Debate, Vox

The Racist Origin of Gun Control Laws, The Hill

Parkland, Race, and the Gun Violence That Gets Overlooked, PBS

Black Teens Affected by Gun Violence Speak Out Ahead of March for Our Lives, HuffPost Black Voices

Gun Culture in Black and White, National Review

Arming Teachers Would Put Black and Latino Kids in Danger, The Washington Post

An American Crisis: 18 Facts about Gun Violence, and 6 Ways to Reduce the Suffering, The Trace

Parkland Is Sparking a Difficult Conversation about Race, Trauma, and Public Support, Vox

Why Race Should Be Included in the Conversation about Arming Teachers, NPR

How Do You Teach Students about Freddie Gray? Slate

How Many Children Are Affected by Gun Violence in America?, The Washington Post

Here’s How Schools Can Support Students’ Mental Health, NPR

America’s Unique Gun Violence Problem, Explained in 17 Maps and Charts, Vox

Statistics on Gun Deaths and Race, Giffords Law Center

Black Parkland Students Want Peers to “Share the Mic,” Huffington Post

Five Things for Educators to Keep in Mind After March for Our Lives, Southern Poverty Law Center

A New Epithet Emerges for Parkland Teens Calling for More Gun Control: Nazis, The Washington Post

Our Victories, Moms Demand Action on Gun Sense in America

Ten Years After Va. Tech Shooting: How Gun Laws Have Changed, USA Today


Films and videos exploring issues of race, guns, and gun violence:

13th, Ava Duvernay

Shell Shocked, Director John Richie

Bowling for Columbine, Director Michael Moore

Whose Streets?, Director Sabaah Folayan

91%, Director John Richie

Strong Island, Director Yance Ford

The Force, Director Peter Nicks

Quest, Director Jonathan Olshefski


Speeches from students at March for Our Lives

Naomi Wadler’s speech, March for Our Lives

Edna Chavez’s speech, March for Our Lives

Emma Gonzalez’s speech, March for Our Lives

Trevon Bosley’s speech, March for Our Lives

Hinsdale Central High School, Trigger Warning, March for Our Lives