Today was a sad day. Nothing happened, exactly. The coffee maker didn’t die, My jeans fit when I put them on. It was a relatively pain-free day (for me, anyway). The sun came up, the air conditioner was working, and my dog greeted me after work with a sloppy wet kiss.
No, nothing bad happened. It’s just that I had to do something that makes me sad…and a little angry. Teachers at my school were instructed to prepare our classrooms and our students for a “Code Red” lockdown drill. You know, lockdown – when a deranged shooter carrying a dozen or so guns or maybe a few bombs made in their basement storms the school, and school employees secure their classrooms and shelter the youngsters entrusted in their care.
My job, once a lockdown is announced is to step out into the hallway and grab any and all students, staff, or visitors near my classroom. I lock the door, cover the window, and herd my students to a corner where I am to instruct them to remain silent and to turn off their electronic devices. I turn off the lights. I e-mail administration to let them know if any students are missing or if I have picked up other students from the hallway. Everyone must be accounted for. I need to keep them calm. I wait for the all clear. I open the door for no one. I know what to do.
It’s a drill (this time). I get the need to be prepared. As I am instructing my students today I kept thinking about what an incredible responsibility that is. And how politicians haven’t a clue.
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on Tuesday (Oct 6) said he would have confronted the shooter at Umpqua Community College, had he been present at the time of the attack.
“Not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me. I would say ‘Hey, guys, everybody attack him! He may shoot me but he can’t get us all,’ ” the retired neurosurgeon said on “Fox and Friends.”
Really? With what should I attack? I teach nursing. Throw a bedpan at them? Stab them with an insulin syringe? Blind them with my laser pointer? Wrap Ace bandages all around them? Threaten him with a catheter or an enema? Charge him and get killed so that my students will be left unprotected? They are my responsibility. As I scanned their faces today realized that every one of them would look to me for protection, for guidance, for safety – as much as it is possible for me to provide. I wouldn’t be able to face a parent if I didn’t do everything in my power to protect their child. And I don’t protect them by charging an armed killer. I have about the same chance of stopping someone intent on murder as I would have mastering that new math crap.
I’ve worked with neurosurgeons and every last one of them thought they were God. Maybe being up to your wrists in a person’s skull does give you superpowers, I don’t know. But don’t try to make school administrators, teachers, janitors – even the lunch lady – feel guilty for not charging the shooter.
Just stop talking.