My number one job as a teacher is the safety of my students. I keep them safe from bullying. Safe from Johnny or Susie opening a candy bar with peanuts knowing Mickey is allergic. Safe from foul language and ugly behavior in the classroom. Their parents didn’t send them to my room to be subjected to that.
I’m also charged with keeping them safe from a nutjob with a firearm. I think of scenarios and listen for sounds that would indicate a shooter is in the building or outside. We had a lockdown a few years ago due to an actual threat against the school. It was between periods and I only had two students. I hid them under a counter. Instead of lying on the floor waiting to be shot, I put a large wooden podium next to the door and armed myself with a 3-hole punch and letter opener. I stood at the door for an hour or so until it was secured. A member of the school security team opened my door with his key and when the door bumped the podium I looked around and he said, “You can’t block the door during a lockdown.”
I looked at him like he was crazy and said, “That’s exactly what we should be doing.” It’s time we start getting serious about protecting kids in schools with:
- One door entry
- Metal detectors
- School security member or SRO at the door–all day
- Issue and enforce the wearing of student and staff ID
Those are measures that have been recommended by many for a long time. Some schools do it. I know first hand that some do not. The next thing to do is get rid of the policy of cowering and waiting to be shot. We need to practice run, hide, fight. Schools should be built and modified to be unfriendly to those who intend harm to my students and me. Build in places to hide. Install electronic and mechanical barriers that trap the shooter.
I’m prepared to rush the shooter, fight him, or otherwise disrupt his plan. I can’t imagine my students getting hurt and me surviving. When people start getting serious about protecting kids in school let know. I want to be part of the discussion.