I’ll bet you started thinking about this soon after the Parkland High School shooting. I know that I did. I guess that’s because I have been in the school business for most of my life.
Yesterday morning at a local high school, the students became terrified because there was a rumor (not sure how it was started) that a gunman had come into the school and there were already dead bodies somewhere in the hallways. This is a particularly large two story building that housed 9-12 on one side and k-5 on the other side.
The moment that the first rumor started, students started emptying the building. Many of them, with cell phones, called home and asked to be picked up. After a time over 1/3 of the students had left. Parents were furiously calling the school to find out what was happening and should they pick up their children.
The school was in chaos. This is nothing that you can prepare for. It will probably go on in other buildings. The shootings in Parkland seem to be different from other school shooting. Maybe because of the students there being involved in protests, more students are aware of the possibilities.
It is difficult to calm students down when they feel that they are being threatened. A discussion at the school with 3 young women students came to conclusions that there should be laws that prevent people from buying guns. They were also surprised that nothing had been done for mentally ill people could buy guns. They were also curious why anyone would want to buy one of those machine gun type weapons, which are only used by the military to kill people.
Now, along with bomb threats, the pulling of a false fire alarm and other such things, we now add school shooters. It has always been an emotionally draining occupation. In my first year of teaching, I would go home and actually drop down on my bed. I only woke up to eat and create my lesson plans (I never planned a head because I never knew the student’s reaction to my lessons).
Now, add a fear of a shooter and the palpable fear by the children to the mix and you have the kind of chaos described above. Holy Moly, what the heck are we doing.