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What would you do?
Old 05-28-2022, 05:17 AM
  #1

I’m going to preface this by saying I’m not a parent…

But, this is a topic that has come up at my school a few times in conversation regarding “what do you think you would do” in the event of an intruder in your school.

Of course, none of us actually know what we would do and adrenaline/panic can cause a multitude of responses.

It’s been mentioned by colleagues that, if it came down to them or the children in their care, they’d do all they can to an extent but “I’m a mother and have my own children to go home to.”

Again, I’m not a mother. But, my rebuttal has always been “but, those are somebody’s children. So, you’d save yourself because you’re a mother over somebody else’s child?”

They’ve also said they could never imagine being able to function if they lost their child which I would agree with….

I’m not saying there is a right or wrong choice and again I’m not a parent but interested to hear other’s take on this…


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Old 05-28-2022, 05:25 AM
  #2

This is a no-brainer for me (even when my own kids were small). I would always put my studentsí lives before my own.
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Old 05-28-2022, 05:27 AM
  #3

Teachers are essentially "parents by proxy" and to my knowledge are legally bound to protect the students until their parents have physical custody . That however is very different from how I may react should a shooter be nearby my classroom. I have a feeling I would panic which is why regular top notch training for active shooter situations is important to me if teaching in America.
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Old 05-28-2022, 05:29 AM
  #4

I am a parent and a grammy. I am now retired but I always said that I definitely would have risked my life for my students because I always thought..what would I want someone else to do for my own kids? I just couldn't live with myself if I didn't try.
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Old 05-28-2022, 05:38 AM
  #5

I think, in the moment, your instinct to protect children in your care would kick in and you'd do everything in your power including risk to yourself. I agree with MathWA that I would hope my grandchildren's teachers would act in the place of absent parents. I have several grandchildren and one in 4th grade so I've thought about this a lot this horrible week.


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Old 05-28-2022, 05:43 AM
  #6

I understand those teachers who feel that they would prioritize their own children. I was a solo parent so I was always aware, especially after my mom walked on, that things would be very difficult for my daughter if I didn't live to raise her to adulthood.

Still, in the moment, I don't think people weigh it out with that much logic. I am quite sure that I would risk my life for my students' safety. I don't freeze in emergencies and my instinct to fight and protect is quite strong. I don't think I'd even be able to help myself. When we did our last A.L.I.C.E. intruder simulation, I think our trainer was surprised that one of the least hesitant participants was a gray-haired, slightly pudgy old lady.

I'm very grateful to have reached the end of my teaching career without having to find out how I'd react in a real-life situation, though.
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Old 05-28-2022, 06:02 AM
  #7

I believe we would all protect children in the moment. I can understand a parent saying he or she might not in an attempt to get home. How can I not try to think of a way to get back to my own children. But Iím that stop it second I believe the teacher heart would take over.
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Old 05-28-2022, 06:10 AM
  #8

I would always put the lives of my students above mine. Of course I'd want to return to my family but students were my responsibility when I was with them. I wouldn't want to live if my students died because of my failure to protect them. No question about it.

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Old 05-28-2022, 06:20 AM
  #9

I would lay down my life for my students.
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Old 05-28-2022, 06:25 AM
  #10

Without a doubt, I would lay down my life for my students. I would expect the adults my children were under the care of to do the same thing.


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Old 05-28-2022, 06:31 AM
  #11

I would protect the children in my care in that moment, and pray that someone would do the same for mine.
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What would you do
Old 05-28-2022, 06:32 AM
  #12

When I was teaching, we had earthquake drills. And an entire binder and flow chart of who was responsible for what. Plus, if it was catastrophic, we were MANDATED to remain in our position until every child had been picked up. Mandated by the State.

I would certainly protect my students. To protect my own children would mean instantly abandoning the entire class.
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Old 05-28-2022, 06:33 AM
  #13

Excellent question. I would like to think that most teachers would do what they would want a teacher to do for their own children.

As a follow up question, are they any things that we as teachers could do to maybe maybe it harder for a shooter to enter a classroom?
Also, my best friend and I often discuss what we would do if we heard shots. Is it better to hide or run with your class (depending of the distance of the shots).
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Old 05-28-2022, 07:04 AM
  #14

Quote:
we have a few simple and subtle classroom hacks that will put you and your students in a safer position. It's also important to know these ďhacksĒ will not affect the learning environment. Nobody wants to feel like they are teaching or learning in a prison environment. Most of these hacks are things that your students won't even notice. Our hope is that these hacks will empower you as an educator to know that you have taken proactive steps to give yourself some sense of ďtaking controlĒ during a very chaotic and scary situation.
We have broken these steps down to coincide with the foundational steps of most popular active shooter trainings (Run, Hide, Fight ALICE, etc.) These are hacks that you won't see in most drills. They are things that we have picked up along the way. Steps that only a teacher's eye would spot. They are creative and they are things that work within the rules of the school.





https://fightingchancesolutions.com/...l-safety-hacks
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Old 05-28-2022, 07:17 AM
  #15

Thanks Anna. That link is extremely helpful.
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Old 05-28-2022, 08:30 AM
  #16

I believe that some of the items listed in anna's link are things that are above a teacher's pay grade to decide to have in the room. There's no way that I would plan an escape route utilizing ladders without an okay from administration, for instance. The window shades look like a great idea, though, although you can create a low tech variation of that with cardboard and velcro.

Those of us who have had A.L.I.C.E. training have already inventoried our room for what could be used to barricade our door, what parts of the rooms are most visible from interior and exterior windows and we have already discussed with our students what kinds of objects in the room could be used as weapons. We are not allowed to block access to windows and I've never seen a classroom set up so that the teacher had their back to the door.

Quote:
Is it better to hide or run with your class (depending of the distance of the shots).
Part of A.L.I.C.E. training is having protocols for how we can give or receive information about the location of the shooter which would inform the decision to hide or run. In my last school, if you heard shots the first thing you'd do, after securing your door and getting your kids out of sight, is call 911 and, hopefully, they could give you additional information. It's why we are expected to keep our phones within reach at all times and why some schools are disinclined to ban student cellphones from the classroom. ETA: Most schools in these parts also have phone systems that allow emergency mesages to come through the phone system intercom, which is separate from the regular intercom.
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Old 05-28-2022, 08:36 AM
  #17

Sadly, I have considered what I would do extensively. The classroom I've been in up to this point has several wide cabinets. I purposefully kept the bottom row clear, and stored my things out on the bookshelves in the room. Since I see small groups and my students are younger/smaller, my plan in a real situation would be to put them in those cabinets and then start throwing the tables and shelves up against the door. If someone got in, I would say I didn't have students at that time.

I'm in a new room for next year and will have to figure out what that would look like. My old room would have been more protected because it was in a "pod" with no exterior doors. The shooter would have to first get through locked interior doors, and then through locked classroom doors. My new room is out in a main hallway with exterior doors.

In our lockdown system, everything shuts down with the touch of a button. The doors automatically swing shut and lock and the lights go out. One time, the system was having issues and went off in the middle of the day with no warning. Since they always tell us when drills are happening, we all assumed it was a real situation. I had stepped out of the pod to go make copies and was in the hallway alone. Within seconds every door around me was locked/there was nowhere for me to go. I was terrified. Thankfully everything came back on about 30 seconds later.
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Old 05-28-2022, 08:41 AM
  #18

This was a very heated discussion with a few of my colleagues this week. I said it’s our job to keep the kids safe and we have to protect them. I would. Most teachers said it’s every one for themselves and they have a family at home, so they would run out if there was a shooter. I get it, I have family also, but I could never leave a helpless child. Believe me, it was very heated.
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Old 05-28-2022, 08:42 AM
  #19

Iím a parent and want to go home to my own children, but the kids in my classroom are my kids and I would lay down my life for every single one of them.

One year we had an F3 tornado right at dismissal. It hit a school down the road from us. I was on duty and was busy trying to keep the kids in my care safe and calm. After the threat was over I realized I had no idea where my oldest was. Thankfully a colleague not on duty grabbed him and took him into her room. My youngest was in a daycare which was way closer to the actual threat. During the time I didnít even think about my own kids because instinct just takes over and I had to trust others to take care of my kids the way I was taking care of other peoplesí kids.
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Old 05-28-2022, 08:53 AM
  #20

Thanks, anna! Great suggestions. Iím retired, but I immediately shared the site with my friends who are still teaching.
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Old 05-28-2022, 08:58 AM
  #21

I know what I think I would do, but I don't think anyone knows what they would truly do until they are put into that situation. I agree that training is (sadly) essential for making some reactions more likely to be automatic.
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Old 05-28-2022, 09:33 AM
  #22

Quote:
Most teachers said itís every one for themselves
I am stunned.
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Old 05-28-2022, 09:58 AM
  #23

I have never ever in my life heard a teacher say that they would not protect the children and only fend for themselves. That's unfathomable to me.
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Old 05-28-2022, 10:05 AM
  #24

I have been in a similar situations as Tex Teacher, and unfortunately, or fortunately as there are always multiple viewpoints to every situation, I reacted as Tex Teacher. Instinct takes over, you see the innocent and scared faces of your students, and you protect them. These babies are with us more time them our own families, for one school year, they are our babies. I only pray that my childrenís teachers feel the same.

I havenít posted my feelings until now on social media and now here.

I am sickened of anyone in the world being able to purchase so many rounds of bullets.

I am at a loss of how to change a system that doesnít allow 18 yr olds to drink yet allows them to purchase any gun.

I am disappointed in myself for wishing those NRA diehards would experience the grief FIRST HAND at that the Columbine, Sandy Hook, Parkland, and now Uvalde communities feel.

I am depressed because until you feel their pain..NRA members, you will NEVER change laws. Thoughts, prayers, fundraisers, vigils, even he thought of mental health care, will NOT change anything.
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Old 05-28-2022, 10:05 AM
  #25

Quote:
Most teachers said itís every one for themselves and they have a family at home, so they would run out if there was a shooter.

This is very shocking . I am relieved to hear mommy9298 spoke up with her thoughts to the staff.
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Old 05-28-2022, 10:08 AM
  #26

I would never have imagined that a teacher would save themselves over helping their students. As PP said, I am shocked.
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Old 05-28-2022, 10:11 AM
  #27

I was at a school the day after the shooting working with a student. This boy is 18 years old almost 7 feet tall and built like a wall. However he has severe disabilities and generally moves at a snails pace. As we were walking, I found my self thinking, ďhow could I protect him if a shooter came right now?Ē I thought about tackling him to get him down, but was pretty sure I wouldnít be able to do it- the only thing I could think of was to get between him and the gunman and try to make myself as big as possible.

I am a parent, a wife, a daughter- but they can and will live without me if anything happens. I wouldnít be able to live with myself if I sacrificed someone elseís life to save my own.
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Old 05-28-2022, 10:13 AM
  #28

Quote:
Most teachers said it’s every one for themselves and they have a family at home, so they would run out if there was a shooter.
I don’t understand this thinking at all.
I want to clarify that the person who said this didn’t say “every man for themselves” but did indicate that while they would try to protect their students, if given an out they’d take it because they’re a mother.

I may not be a parent but I, of course, still have family/friends that I want to see again. I still do not believe that I could leave “my kids” or any kids defenseless while saving myself.

We have the “official lockdown blinds” on all our classroom doors as shown on that site linked, however most intruders would know that the kids/staff do not just disappear.

My current classroom has no exterior windows so there is only one entrance/exit to my classroom. But, all classrooms that do have windows (most of them) have an egress window that fully opens to the roof and the roof has a ladder. In a real situation, I would use this if possible to exit the building.

We don’t have any exterior doors linked to classrooms. We have the front doors (all glass), main office doors, two stairwell doors, and a recess exit. The latter 3 are all behind double chain-locked fences and can only be opened with a badge.

We’ve discussed that if we were outside we would throw kids over the chain link fence and leave campus while calling 911.

I’ve heard of/read about ALICE training but we don’t utilize it in my district.

It’s so disheartening to me that a site titled “ School Safety Hacks - Protect Your Classroom From Active Shooter Events With These Simple Ideas!” even has to exist in this country.
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What would I do
Old 05-28-2022, 10:28 AM
  #29

I am retired but I taught long enough to have had active shooter drills. I would do all that I could to protect the Kindergartners that I taught. I think the very thought is terrifying and it is disgraceful that only our country has this epidemic of school shootings. Please, please vote for change.
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Old 05-28-2022, 10:31 AM
  #30

Like everyone else on this thread, I would stay and protect my students. I appreciate anna's statement that sometimes people do panic and that's why training is so important.
TexTeacher touched on a fear of mine. Both of my children attend the school where I teach. One of my nightmares is hearing one of them call for me to help them and I'm in a room with students who would be in jeopardy if I tried to help them. My brain just shuts down thinking about it.
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I wouldn't be able to live with myself
Old 05-28-2022, 10:40 AM
  #31

I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I fled to safety and left children behind with a gunman. I honestly don't know how those cops in Uvalde are able to live with themselves. The school security officer in Parkland waited outside too and I don't know how he sleeps at night.

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Old 05-28-2022, 10:52 AM
  #32

Quote:
I honestly don't know how those cops in Uvlade are able to live with themselves.
Same for the teacher who propped open the door that the gunman came through. I think that’s what was reported. If only.......

I’m surprised there are schools that apparently don’t have protocols in place or haven’t trained staff for these situations. Maybe there are places that don’t have fire drills either. I have been retired for several years but was still working when we switched to ALICE rather than the previous response to intruders. That was 10-12 years ago. We had regular drills with both types of response, just as we did for fire and for weather emergencies.
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Old 05-28-2022, 11:29 AM
  #33

I'd like more information on the claim that the teacher propped the door open. I've heard several timelines and explanations as to how the shooter got into the first classroom. Time and video will tell the story and hopefully it is a very thorough and truthful story.
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Old 05-28-2022, 12:27 PM
  #34

Quote:
Most teachers said it’s everyone for themselves and they have a family at home, so they would run out if there was a shooter.
But would it be worth it? Yes, they may get out and home to their children, but would have to live the rest of their lives knowing they let children die. I don't have kids, but wouldn't hesitate to do what I could to save my students, no matter the cause - shooting, accident, tornado. I'd rather die than live the rest of my life knowing I failed to protect someone that I might have saved.

My other thought on reading that is, maybe that is why we are in this mess - people only looking out for themselves. From things I've heard the shooter had anger issues. Maybe if someone had taken the time to get to the know and care about the shooter, he would haven't felt the need to destroy others. We should all be doing what we can to care for each other, no matter whose "children" they are or their ages.

Last edited by elspeech; 05-28-2022 at 12:46 PM..
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Old 05-28-2022, 01:04 PM
  #35

While I understand the feelings about their own children, I would feel obligated to protect the kids.

I work part time at a library. We were talking about emergency preparedness and the discussion seemed very focused on getting ourselves out safely. I actually had to ask what plans we had for the patrons because they might not even have the advantage of knowing where all the exits are. I work with FABULOUS people, but they hadn't gotten to the "how am I going to protect...." part yet when it was the FIRST thing I thought of as a former teacher. I think I would feel obligated to protect in any situation where I was "in charge" and had knowledge that could help.

I think regardless of what we say we might do, most people would automatically go towards protecting the most vulnerable.

Flight would kick in if we felt we were the most vulnerable. I know I've been much more likely to be self protective in general if I'm pregnant, sick, surrounded by people stronger than me, etc. I would get myself out of the way.

It's weird thinking about it, because my (obviously adult) son is a Law Enforcement Officer. I'd have to "abandon him" to get out of the way to let him to his job. So counter intuitive. (and it also brings up interesting thoughts about the most recent LEO response, which I won't even go into.)
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Old 05-28-2022, 01:48 PM
  #36

I didn't sign up for a job where this sort of risk would be in any way real. If it came to the point where it was real here, I would leave teaching. No job is worth being killed.
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Old 05-28-2022, 02:59 PM
  #37

What would I do?

I would refuse to speculate because social expectation that teachers prepare to sacrifice themselves for their students is part of the problem. The responsibility is always on the teachers. Let them wonder what we would do. Maybe theyíll search for another solution.

Quote:
Same for the teacher who propped open the door that the gunman came through. I think thatís what was reported. If only.......

Iím surprised there are schools that apparently donít have protocols in place or havenít trained staff for these situations. Maybe there are places that donít have fire drills either. I have been retired for several years but was still working when we switched to ALICE rather than the previous response to intruders. That was 10-12 years ago. We had regular drills with both types of response, just as we did for fire and for weather emergencies.
Youíre not the only one who has written something like this, so Iím not picking on you particularly, butÖ

The victim-blaming tone in this stance is appalling, IMO.
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Old 05-28-2022, 04:55 PM
  #38

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I’m surprised there are schools that apparently don’t have protocols in place or haven’t trained staff for these situations. Maybe there are places that don’t have fire drills either. I have been retired for several years but was still working when we switched to ALICE rather than the previous response to intruders. That was 10-12 years ago. We had regular drills with both types of response, just as we did for fire and for weather emergencies.
I’m not sure if this was related to my second post or not.
But, we do lockdown, tornado, and fire drills every month. We practice lockdown drills, we just don’t use ALICE.

I think comparing a teacher propping open a door and feeling safe to do so, as we should all feel, is completely different from a police officer saying to not breach the room for over 40 minutes where people are being murdered.


While I don’t disagree that it isn’t something we, as teachers, should have to speculate about, we do because it unfortunately has happened many times with no federal regulations enacted to stop it from continuing to happen.

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No job is worth being killed.
Unless you’re in the military, police force, fire department, etc?

I’m not at all saying that teachers should be expected to go to work thinking they may lose their lives. Ever.
However, there are professions where people go to work every day with a chance of being injured or killed, while keeping their communities/country safe.
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Old 05-28-2022, 06:30 PM
  #39

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While I donít disagree that it isnít something we, as teachers, should have to speculate about, we do because it unfortunately has happened many times with no federal regulations enacted to stop it from continuing to happen.
Iíve thought about multiple scenarios for myself, as Iíve been trained to do in PDs. What I donít think the public deserves is my answer to the question. If they want children safe, they can vote for politicians who will work to make children safe rather than depend on teachers for one more thing.
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Old 05-29-2022, 01:00 AM
  #40

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Unless youíre in the military, police force, fire department, etc?
No job is worth being killed for. I have a sense of self preservation developed enough to keep me out of these fields.
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Old 05-29-2022, 08:16 AM
  #41

I'd hope I'd put my student's life before my own, but I don't know if anyone can say so ahead of time. In the moment, there's no telling what you will do!

We did an intruder/ALICE drill just for staff at a school I was at. My room chose to lockdown due to the location of the intruder. Unbeknowest to us, the "intruder" (police officer) had a key to locked classroom and came in pointing a gun. Obviously as part of Alice, you are supposed to counter. I knew that...but I was so shocked, I curled up in a fetal position and yelled "Don't shoot". Another threw a chair, another did nothing, and 2 others started taking screens off windows to crawl out. There's really no telling what you will do in the moment. In talking to the officer about my reaction afterwards, he said there really is no telling what people will do, but he said it's good to know how you did react and reflect on it because then in the real thing, you may do something different, something that might be more helpful.
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Old 05-29-2022, 08:50 AM
  #42

It is entirely possible that in the near future we will see those who protested against masks and vaccines in schools will be loudly demanding that teachers carry guns . That is our upside down failed state that we now live with on a daily basis.
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Old 05-29-2022, 12:28 PM
  #43

I am completely at peace with the idea of laying down my life for my students. I would do it in a heartbeat.
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I found out what I'd do...
Old 05-29-2022, 08:15 PM
  #44

We had an active shooter lockdown...but our doors have no interior locks and we aren't supposed to open them, go outside, and lock them if there is an active shooter in the area...sheesh...

I had planned ages ago to put the pole used for the high windows through the door handle and hold it sideways to (hopefully) keep anyone out. Also to put a ring I'd bought at the hardware store over the folding hinge at the top of the door to (hopefully) stop it from opening. The door was two layers of metal but on either side are large, full length, clear windows...not the best for this situation. I had practiced with the pole a number of times over the years.

When we got the active shooter announcement, I moved all my kids in to the most hidden corner of the room, having them pull all the desks they could with them and tipping them for cover, and reminded them that if anyone came in the door to throw everything they had at that person. I ran to the door and put my pole and ring in place, and stood there as close to the door as I could to hold the pole so (hopefully) I wouldn't be seen by anyone outside looking in. The kids were so great - all in a pile in the corner, very quiet, taking care of each other. I was so proud of them.

Lucky for us, we got an all clear about 30 minutes later, and we were all evacuated to the park across the street. Turns out it was a man angry at his ex and was seen across the street with a gun. No school the rest of the day, and we all got very sunburned as we waited all morning and afternoon for parents to come and pick up kids.

I felt no fear at the time, only cold determination. I'd have done anything to keep them safe. I only got scared after it was all over...threw up in the parking lot.

Edited to add: There are still no exterior locks on the old building doors, only on the new ones built in the last couple of years. Inexcusable.

Last edited by TchrFvr; 05-30-2022 at 06:30 AM..
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