I have not posted to this blog for two weeks now.
Every time I started a draft, I just couldn't find the right words.
The events on Wednesday afternoon, February 14th, stopped me...
along with nearly everyone else...stopped me right in my tracks.
A school shooting is every teacher's, and every parent's, worst nightmare.
The Columbine HS massacre on April 20, 1999, changed the ways we do things at school.
It was that fall that we had our first Active Shooter Lock Down Drill.
We teachers practiced valuable procedures in the event of an intruder,
and our law enforecment developed important strategies to navigate our school building.
If seeing the SWAT team in full gear running through the school was not intimidating enough,
hearing the sounds of the gun shots fired was terrifying.
I was a teacher, responsible for hundreds of teenagers,
and also a mother, with a high school aged daugher.
That was just the first of many annual lock down drills.
It was important for us to hear gunfire in the hallways,
to recognize that sound,
and so it would not be mistaken for the sound of firecrackers.
The sounds of gunfire, along with the officers yelling commands,
all was enough to keep me awake an night,
and it was just a drill...
But after the school shooting on Valentine's Day,
the news broadcast included video that students captured,
in their classrooms, with their cell phones.
It was the real thing...
It was chilling...it shook me to the core.
Teachers and students practice these drills,
just like we practice for fires and tornadoes.
We teach with our classroom doors closed...
Those doors are locked.
Here is Mr. Hanson speaking to my class.
Notice the pantry behind him?
Half of my students would hunker down in there.
And the other half of the class would
move into the laundry room and barricade that door.
I had a place to hide under my demonstration counter,
so that I could check on both groups of students.
Even if it was a drill...it felt serious.
My heart hurts for the teachers and students that
have had to experience that horrific occurance, for real.
The teachers that have died protecting their students are heros.
We all hope and pray that we can bring an end to these
senseless acts of violence in our schools.