Will We Even Try to Keep Students and Teachers Safe from Gun Violence? Or Just Keep Preparing for the Worst?


“Teachers, we are functioning on a lockdown. Remember to continue to keep your doorways locked right until we inform you it has been lifted.”

Just before me a sea of extensive eyes and worried faces.

I slowly walked toward the doorway continuing the lesson I had been supplying in advance of the announcement. The door was presently shut and secured but I nonchalantly turned the additional deadbolt.

“Click!” it sounded like a gunshot throughout the instantly silent area.

I continued talking though generating my way again to the blackboard pretending that absolutely nothing out of the normal was happening.

That’s just daily life in the classroom these days.

In accordance to Eduction 7 days, there have been 38 university shootings in the US this calendar year resulting in injuries or fatalities. That’s up from 34 past yr and the best it is been due to the fact the media source commenced tracking such issues in 2018.

For the duration of the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, there were only 10 these shootings in 2020, and 24 each individual in 2019 and 2018.

That comes to a full of 130 school shootings in the previous five several years.

“Mr. Singer, can I go to the rest room?” DeVon questioned.

“I’m sorry,” I explained. “We’re even now under lockdown. I’ll write you a go as quickly as it is lifted.”

It seems like nowhere is safe.

3 of this year’s shootings were in my home point out of Pennsylvania.

The initially was on January 19 at Pittsburgh’s Oliver Citywide Academy, a unique education and learning faculty.

A 15-12 months-aged boy waiting in a van to go house was shot and killed soon after at the very least a person individual opened fireplace outdoors the school.

The 2nd was on April 5 at Erie Higher University. A 16-12 months-previous pupil was shot and injured at the school.

The third was on Sept 27 at Roxborough Large College in Philadelphia.

A 14-calendar year-previous scholar was killed and 4 many others wounded (ages 17, 15, 14, and 14) in a taking pictures in close proximity to the substantial university athletic subject immediately after a football scrimmage.

“Mr. Singer, what’s going on?” Olivia questioned.

I turned to her baffled at first then I recognized what she intended.

“The lockdown? Permit me check out my laptop computer. No…. Very little. I truly really don’t know, Honey. But I’m guaranteed regardless of what it is, it will be over before long. Why don’t you get back again to the assignment?”


This sort of violence isn’t confined to colleges.

On Sept 24 a few individuals have been shot in Kennywood Park, a well known amusement park in West Mifflin.

Two several years back in September a 15-12 months-aged boy was killed and a further was wounded in a capturing at the Haunted Hills Hayride in North Versailles.

In 2020 a guy was shot and killed at Monroeville Mall. In 2015, a 17-calendar year-aged entered the men’s department on the reduce amount of Macy’s office retail outlet in the night and shot his intended target and two bystanders, leaving two with critical injuries.

Is there anywhere safe any more?

You can’t go to the shopping mall. You just can’t go on a haunted hayride. You simply cannot go to an amusement park.

I experienced students who had been hiding in the mall throughout the 2015 shooting. My daughter wasn’t associated in any shootings but she went to Kennywood this summertime.

The place does it prevent?

Why are we executing so minor?

A number of weeks in the past my college had a further active shooter teaching for teachers when the students, fortunately, experienced a working day off.

Each and every couple of decades we do this. Lecturers huddle in school rooms and attempt to respond to a shooting state of affairs. We possibly barricade ourselves in our school rooms or consider to obtain an escape route. We help coach police and community professional medical personnel.

At this many years coaching, academics have been presented a speak by a law enforcement “expert” who regaled us with his time operating as a Blackwater mercenary in Afghanistan. He advised us how tough it was to make conclusions below fire but that often you experienced to make the difficult selections.

“Some of you academics have children in wheelchairs in your school rooms. You think you are going to get your entire class out of the creating and to protection!? You have to inquire yourself, how are you heading to get that child in the wheelchair out? What are you going to do if a kid flips out or is as well frightened to go? I know it’s not awesome to feel about, but at times you have to make decisions that will conserve the most people – not automatically every person.”

It designed me want to vomit. But he wasn’t telling me anything I did not presently know.

I like to believe that I’d pick the kid up out of his wheelchair, throw him over my shoulder and have him to safety. I hope I could tranquil down a baby possessing a stress attack and whisk her out of the creating.

But could I definitely? By yourself?

We do every thing we can to put together ourselves in scenario one thing like this takes place – but as a society we do practically nothing – Nothing at all – to avoid shootings from going on in the initially area.

Where’s amplified gun regulations to make confident these weapons aren’t finding into the hands of criminals or the mentally unstable?

In which are bans on assault weapons and other weapons of mass destruction and war?

Wherever is amplified liability for those recklessly selling firearms?

The place is anything we could be performing to make our colleges, malls and locations of amusement safer?

“Mr. Singer, I actually have to go to the lavatory.”

“You cannot keep it just a very little extended, DeVon?”

“No,” he explained hoping from foot to foot.

“Number 1 or variety 2?”

He giggled and held up one finger.

I reluctantly pointed to the trash can.

“Take it above there to the corner. I’ll stand in entrance of you so…”

“Attention instructors! The lockdown has now been lifted. You might continue on as standard.”

I sighed, unlocked the door and wrote DeVon a lavatory go.

We hardly ever did locate out what activated the lockdown. Just one time it was a gunshot in the surrounding community. Another time it was an unauthorized grownup trying to get accessibility to the creating.

It could be much even worse. And it will materialize once again.

The prospects of it being a university shooter are small.

The prospects of myself or my students becoming hurt or killed is even reduced.

But it’s however much too superior.

Dwelling less than the continual shadow of this menace is making a trauma that we have presented up making an attempt to resolve and just contact regular.

It is unacceptable.

We want to do extra.

Not just on the days when one particular of these tragedies strike – but just about every working day.

It is not safe and sound for learners and lecturers – it will Never ever be absolutely risk-free, but it can be safer.

Which is the level – how harmless can we make it?

And why are not we accomplishing just about anything to reach that objective other than getting ready for the worst?

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I have also written a book, “Gadfly on the Wall: A General public University Trainer Speaks Out on Racism and Reform,” now offered from Garn Press. Ten per cent of the proceeds go to the Badass Lecturers Affiliation. Check it out!

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