A college professor has revealed that she's not sure she can give one of her students a recommendation because that student is a gun enthusiast.
The professor, writing under the pseudonym "Myrtle Lynn Payne" in the Chronicle for Higher Education on Monday, said a student named "Sarah" enrolled in one of her classes about a year ago.
"'Sarah' was a very nice young woman. ... Her academic abilities were not strong but she had great energy and was a class leader," the professor wrote. Payne added that she took "special notice" of Sarah on her first day in class when students were asked to share an experience from their winter break.
"Sarah shared that the most notable experience of her winter break was a visit to a gun range where she had fired an AK-47," Payne wrote. "I gave the usual 'very good, moving on' response but was thinking, 'Whoa, that’s disturbing.'"
Payne said Sarah later took another one of her classes. That's when the professor said she heard Sarah talking about how she was looking forward to getting her concealed-carry permit. But it wasn't until later in the school year that Payne's and Sarah's passion for exercising Second Amendment rights really came to a head.
"Sarah said she was applying to a teacher-credential program and asked me for a recommendation. Initially I said yes because I usually do," Payne said, adding that she doesn't "know what to do about the recommendation."
"It’s so complicated. On one side are all of my ideas about supporting students, honoring their individuality and their journeys, creating a safe space for them (and myself), not taking things out of context, not over interpreting," Payne grappled.
"On the other side are my memories of growing up in a situation where guns, people, and bullets had to be rigorously kept apart, lest they find each other in a tragic moment of instability," the professor added.
Payne said that Sarah didn't follow up for a while, but eventually sent her an email asking again for a recommendation. Payne acknowledges that she still does not know how to respond to the message.
Payne admitted doesn't know what Sarah actually thinks about gun advocacy or "political failures," which she believes are one of the causes for mass shootings.
"So what do I do? Do I write her a recommendation because I originally said yes? Do I say no and explain myself? Do I ignore her email?" Payne asked.
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