In schools that I visit, here are some things I’ve heard teachers saying:
- I try not to, but I’ve had to think of how I would respond if I heard gunfire down the hall
- my wife/husband says good-bye to me differently now each morning
- I have students who don’t want to leave my side
- teachers have speculated about which might be the students who would come after them
- students have been asking me if I want to carry a weapon; if I say “no” I wonder does that mean they think they can’t count on me?
- we say our school perimeter has been “hardened” but in casual conversation we’ve ID’d three easy ways to get into the facility
- where would I keep a gun?
- in the cafeteria, I overheard kids predicting which of their peers is that kind of dangerous
- I never dreamed of discussions like these in my school
- I had “active shooter” training in my undergraduate teacher education program, so its not a new idea to me
- if first responders swarm our school and we have multiple people with multiple weapons, who are they going to target?
Spending a lot of time in many different schools, it’s been impossible to avoid the myriad feelings and emotions brought to the surface by the Florida (and other) school shootings. The reactions have been surprising in their breadth, sobering, moving, alarming, and, frankly, new and unanticipated to a veteran educator who did NOT have to confront such issues while leading my school.
But, on the positive side, here's a huge reason I believe in our kids and in K-12 schools. Check out this video. Go to link.
Finally, for the past four years, I’ve appreciated being a working partner of and of and with the Partnerships in Education and Resilience (PEAR) Institute. Their work helping schools to know young people is more important than ever. PEAR Founder, Dr. Gil Noam, has responded with this thoughtful piece and I think it’s a critically important perspective. Go to link.
Dr. Larry Myatt