ELMHURST, NY — You have to see it from up above to get a glimpse of their movement: their
collective steps on Saturday in a nationwide rally for gun control.
Middle school teacher Rosalinda Bajolo is hoping it comes sooner.
She says barricading her students and protecting them from gunfire was not part of the job description when she applied to teach in America in 2006.
“Our job is to secure our kids. Turn off the lights. Lock the door, and stay on the side, so they can’t see us. The kids are trained actually to keep quiet.”
A security measure she says even her students’ question.
“There’s a great discussion about that actually with my students, and they’re asking is there any other way. For now, the only way is to be quiet and hide in the closet and be vigilant.”
Bajolo from Zamboanga del Sur, has been teaching science at Intermediate School 230 in Elmhurst, Queens.
“There were tough times, there were tough times. I once taught seventh grade and the only way I could manage them actually is promise them I was going to give them a pizza party at the end.”
Those challenges she says are muted by what teachers are now being asked to do, including possibly arming themselves.
“I don’t know how to use guns and I don’t want to because incidents might happen. If there is any other way aside from guns that we can protect ourselves. I think we are adding more problem to the recent problems we have. I don’t think that’s the solution that our district and our nation should take into.”
But other Filipino teachers might not have much of a choice.
“Actually in other states they are training teachers how to use guns already… that they are training for how to use guns. They only select few. How it works. They only select few of the teachers.”
Bajolo is the New York chapter president of the United Federation of Fil-Am educators. She is also a mother of three young girls who attend three different schools. Her husband is also a teacher in a Mount Vernon, New York high school.
There have been modest gun control measures recently, included in the one point three trillion spending bill Congress passed last week is improving the federal background check system for buying guns.
Bajolo says it’s a very small measure, but it’s at least a step in the right direction.