On April 13, CSU Bakersfield faculty will take part in a systemwide CSU strike. As a mother, educator and lifelong Bakersfield resident, safety has been an utmost priority as I have helped organize this event. And though a peaceful event has been planned, I still continue to be asked by community members and students if I am afraid?
The honest answer is yes. I am afraid, but it has nothing to do with the looming teacher picket lines.
A few days ago I listened to testimony from a CSU Long Beach sociology professor who physically removed a male student wielding a knife from her classroom. Within moments other CSU professors stood to share their stories of physical threats and violence they have faced in their classrooms.
Teaching in the CSU is always unsafe. When K-14 school safety is discussed, the fact that teachers put their lives on the line when threats of violence occur is rarely mentioned. Coincidently, now that teachers are prepared to walk out of their classrooms if our contract is not settled, finally “our safety” is becoming a part of the conversation.
Over my last 10 years teaching at CSUB I have sometimes felt intimidated and even afraid, but it has never once stopped me from entering my classroom. Similarly, no fear-mongering will stop me from walking out of my classroom to improve my working conditions on April 13.