The Effects of School Shootings on Teachers

Paola Hernandez Olvera, Reporter

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The news plays on the screen of the normal television, the one in the normal living room, while the normal teacher, from a normal school, sits on her normal sofa. What has disturbed the natural order of this setting is the news. The news is anything but normal this evening, as chaos unravels at what was once a normal school, and the normal teacher, although hundreds of miles away, feels the anguish: there has been another school shooting.

According to CNN, only 16 weeks into 2018, there had been 20 school shootings in the United States. That is a total of 20 times in which people were hurt or killed. Among all of the casualties are students, everyday civilians and teachers, leaving many families and friends of victims in distress. From keeping up with lesson plans, teaching, grading work and keeping students safe, teachers are significantly impacted by the emotional detriment that the school shootings have brought forward.

“When I first heard of the February 14th shooting, I was devastated,” English teacher Allison Stephens said.

According to Stephens, when she heard about the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, she cried for days after the shooting and even now she can’t seem to talk about it without getting emotional.

“It really affected me, because it is just so terrible to have someone’s life taken away from them at such a young age, and I could not help but to think of you guys [students] and your safety, and how easily it could happen here,” Stephens said.

Although the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting was in Florida, distance does not come close to stopping the pain being felt. Adults and children from all over the country are participating in the effort to stop school shootings, including students and teachers. Movements, like the March for Our Lives movement, have gained attention and support from people over the country, and among those are teachers like Stephens. On March 24 in Downtown Dallas, Stephens joined the march where hundreds united to end gun violence.

“I attended the rally downtown and other teachers were there, not just teachers from North Garland, but teachers from all over the district were there,” Stephens said. “I thought that was really, really cool to see how many teachers were there to support their kids, because it was a rally organized by students, which was really, really amazing.”

Since the last shooting, teachers have been instructed by the district to remember the protocols, rules and action necessary to ensure student safety. AP physics teacher, Nathan Miller-Rider, said the school shootings served as a reminder to the district that teachers should always enforce safety and security protocols.

“We have certainly reiterated our lockdown protocols, which I think is good,” Miller-Rider said. “The district has made sure to really check that the schools are following the protocols. Doors are supposed to be locked during the school day so that nobody has to run out and risk themselves to shut it. Also, renew our focus to make sure nobody is supposed to be let in without an ID, along with the fact that we have to make sure that if we see a student and we don’t think that they should be here, to get them on their way, and if we see anything out of place or if we think that something is going on, to be sure to alert the assistant principals as soon as possible.”

Overall, school shootings have affected teachers to the point where they are more aware of school and district protocols, and are proud of their students and the way that they are advocating for gun control. Stephens and Miller-Rider are both proud of students and hope that they are able to make a change for the better.

“Watching how students are really pushing for more gun control and for their rights has really made me proud of you guys [students] and just seeing your voices out there made me really proud,” Stephens said. “I’m just hoping that you guys will be able to make a change.”

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