I never ever thought I’d say those words. I’ve said I don’t want to go to work, and I’ve said I hate going to work, but never ever have I said I’m afraid to go to work, until now. There have been
a lot too many school shootings in recent years, but none of them have effected me emotionally as much as the recent shooting in Florida. Why? It’s rather ironic, actually. We had a faculty meeting Wednesday, and while my principal was discussing a new training our district was offering in case there was a school shooter event, there actually was a school shooter event happening.
It’s caused me to look closely at my classroom, and that’s making me even more afraid. I am in a small room that used to be an office. It’s approximately 12×22 and has only one way in or out. It has three small windows, none of which are large enough to climb out through. The only door opens out to the hallway so we can’t even blockade ourselves in, and to add insult to injury, the only way to lock the door is to go out INTO the hallway. My closet has a bump out in it and has approximately 144 square inches of floor space. I suppose I could cram a very skinny kid in there and hide them, but what about the rest of us?
I am afraid to go to work. Both of my children work at the school where I work, and I’m afraid for them to go to work as well. What kind of life is that? It’s no life at all. We shouldn’t be afraid to earn a living. I know these shootings don’t only happen in schools, and I know there are other people that work in other industries where tragedies like this have happened. I’m not trying to minimize the danger they may be in, but when it happens in a school it’s even more heinous.
I don’t know what the answer is. I really don’t. As a teacher, I don’t want to be armed. I’m not a gun person. Don’t get me wrong, if the average Joe wants to own a gun to go hunting, or target shooting, I don’t care. The average Joe is also going to go about getting their gun the right way. However, the average Joe isn’t the one stockpiling assault rifles and planning on being the next school shooter. Stricter gun regulations aren’t going to stop criminals from getting guns. I understand that. Stricter background checks might. Changing hippa regulations so that people who are mentally ill might help. Maybe consistent licensing and background checks with a national database will help. I don’t know. I don’t pretend to know.
What I do know is that I am afraid to go to work, and God help me, I’m afraid that if a tragedy like that does happen, that I won’t react the right way. I’d like to think I’d do whatever I can to save students, but I wonder if in the end, the only people I would care about are me and my own children. That sucks. Not that I care about my children, but that I don’t know how I would react in the event of a school shooter. I hope to God I never have to find out.