‘How do you defend them?’: Teachers becoming protectors in wake of school shootings

“I’m doing a whole lot more than reading, writing and arithmetic,” one teacher said.
Teachers said the job is changing as school shootings continue to happen in the U.S.
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 11:25 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - For many people around our country, images of the Nashville school shooting remain at the forefront of minds after three adults and three 9-year-olds were killed earlier this week.

Video clips of the shooter tearing through the building with assault rifles before police, reacting quickly, ran past the students’ artwork hanging in the hallways as they seek to find them, are enough to overwhelm anyone, especially teachers.

Now, in the wake of the latest school shooting, current and former teachers are talking how their role as an educator has shifted.

“How do you defend them? You are defenseless,” Judy Henion, a retired CMS teacher, said.

“Every time the fire alarm goes off, you have this pain that is in the pit of your stomach and you wonder, ‘is this the real deal?’”

Brenda Allred, who taught in Davidson and Randolph counties, and is currently teaching at a charter school in Montgomery County, said safety of students has become an increasingly high priority.

“[It’s] a shift [that’s] a whole lot more than reading, writing and arithmetic,” Allred said.

“It’s just a lot of extra stress and anxiety on a daily basis.”

Now, about three decades after starting her teaching her career, Henion said teachers now have to prepare for class in a different way.

“You do the [active shooter] drills but the drills don’t prepare you for the real thing,” she said.

“Most often we decorated our doors so the window was covered, you feel somewhat safer.”

Henion addedit may be a good idea to sit down with your children and talk to them about staying safe and following teacher instructions in a similar event.

Related: Data reveals gun violence the leading cause of death amongst children