I didn't go to work today. I went shopping with my mom. I had a wonderful day thinking about Christmas and trying to find gifts that would bring joy to the recipient. We made it home, dragging, to my babies and Meg. Meg then asked, "Did you hear about the school today?" I got a lump in my throat. My thoughts immediately went to my class. Today we had our first lockdown drill... at 9:45. Luckily it wasn't my school.
As Meg went on to relay the event to me I
could only think of what would that be like. How could this happen in an
elementary school? I can't even imagine how that could happen. As a teacher I
wonder if I could have stayed calm and thought clearly to lead my class to
safety. Then I started to worry about my kids. Did they hear about what
happened? Would their parents be able to calm their fears? Fears that usually
surface during a lockdown drill? Fears that we normally explain with the small
chance that something like this would ever happen, but it did today. Fears that
we can't calm with details about exactly how we would react if someone were to
show up in our building. Fears that all of those kids in that building will
have for a long time, if not forever.
I think about the kindergartners in
our building. They are innocent. They believe in Santa. They believe in the
Elf on the Shelf. They draw pictures that have to be interpreted and stories
that need a subtitle. They need help opening their milk and putting on their
coats. They shouldn't have to worry about or see their classmates killed. They
should not see their nightmares in real life.
Do I think we need to
outlaw guns? No. Do I think teachers should carry guns? Definitely not. Do I
think that we, as a society, need to do something different? Yes, but I can't
say what that is. I do believe that the people behind this mass shootings are
hurting. They may need mental health help that isn't covered by insurance or
that isn't detected or properly treated. They may have experienced trauma that
they weren't able to work through. Maybe they have not felt needed, loved or
supported. Again I think of the 20 little-ish people in my room every day. It
is my job to make sure those kids have what they need. If they don't get it at
home, it is my job as a teacher to make sure they are loved, supported and
heard. It is my job to make sure they receive the help they need. And it is my
job to be their protector.