I am an ex teacher. I taught for a decade in Michigan public schools. There are so many reasons why I stopped teaching, some reasons more profound than others. But one of the issues that I always had as a teacher was having to train on active shooter drills.
When I was a child in school, I remember doing tornado drills and cold war drills. I remember doing fire drills. Active shooter? What is that? Fast forward a few decades and boom, now we worry about someone coming into a school and killing students and teachers.
I was teaching high school when Sandy Hook happened. I worked in a predominantly at risk school with many ESL learners and a large population of special education students. Sandy Hook tore me apart and I remember my kids wanting to talk about it. So we did. We talked about what we had to do when there was an active shooter drill. What my responsibility was to them. I told them that I was there to protect them at all cost. That if I had to I would take a bullet to protect them because they were my kids. Then one of my boys piped up. He said that they wouldn’t leave me behind. They would shove me out a window.
I shouldn’t have to talk to my kids about these things ever. I should be able to teach them Shakespeare and WWII and they can go home happy at the end of the day. Why am I talking about bullets and dying. This is not what I signed up for when I went to college. There was no college 101 on active shooters. It jarred my mind that there was something seriously wrong. Fast forward a few years…
I went to teach at another school, a larger one taking a position with more responsibility teaching middle school. I had a classroom that was not used for a long time and had a strange set up. It was a regular room but there were two singular bathrooms on one side of the room separated with a large wall, both with heavy locking doors. Now I had done active shooter drills before for years but this one hit different. When we did the drill, I locked and closed all my doors. Turned off the lights. What I did not know and came to find out was I was to lock my kids (I had about 10 in a class) in the two bathrooms and shut the doors. These were extremely tiny bathrooms that would make it difficult to fit in there. But we did it all while the admin and police department went through banging on doors. I realized I had no windows in my room, no way to escape if needed. No way to get my kids out. This was horrible. Why was this reality? Why are these a part of my school year?
I quit teaching in 2015. I have not been back. I homeschool my daughter who is neurodivergent. I think about how she would react in one of these drills. Scared of the dark and lack of security. Not knowing why or how to be completely quiet. I worry about other students that are special needs in these schools. Possibly being some of the easily targeted because of their special needs. It destroys me. Schools should be safe havens for students and teachers. A place of learning. Not if you are scared someone will walk in with a gun. Nope. Its torture. For every parent, not knowing if their child will come home that day. What in the actual hell?
Bottom line is that something has to change. These people that we elect and put in office need to do something for these children. It has to stop. I will be sending emails to my reps today reminding them that they need to do something. They need to be active about this. Or they will not be reelected. I’m not going to vote for someone that is going to stand by and watch all this shit happen and do nothing. I feel shame for my country and what we are.
So, take some time today. Call, write, picket. If you are an influencer on social media, make noise and a lot of it. And the huge one, when it is time to vote, vote the assholes out of office who are more worried about making a dollar then their responsibilities taking care of the people (children) in their communities.
It has to STOP…