Opinion
School Climate & Safety Opinion

In-Service

By Agusta Lind — October 16, 2007 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

It is the second day of in-service for the 2007-08 school year. Where is the scent of crisp new books, the atmosphere of possibilities, excited voices, teachers arranging desks and designing projects for a brand-new year? Instead of working in my classroom preparing for the first day of school for students, I sit and watch a presentation with other teachers and staff in the high school auditorium, learning information about our newest roles as educators: security officer, emergency medical technician, firefighter. New terminology enters my vocabulary: active shooter, primary target, secondary target, critical incident, modified lockdown, fire suppression, Halon.

I learn that I should zigzag while running from an active shooter, and that it is better to fight a shooter if my only other option is to do nothing and die in place.

I learn that in the event of a critical incident, police officers will not hold my hand or comfort me or help if I am injured. They are there to neutralize the point of danger. It is my job to hold my students’ hands to comfort, to assess and treat injuries, account for names on classroom rosters, and search for missing students: leaving no child behind.

I learn what preventive measures I can take to abate critical incidents: I have to check for guns and knives in kids’ backpacks, check for dilated eyes, check grudges, hurt feelings, misdealings, and Internet tattle-taling.

Meanwhile, my classroom sits in disarray, boxes everywhere, desks and tables toppled on their sides, waiting for my hand to right them, straighten them to be ready for students on their first day. Waiting, waiting …

I sit and squirm on a padded seat in a darkened room, thinking about all that needs to be done, learning that fires are coded into classes A, B, C, and D. (I guess they cannot fail, no F.) I learn that Halon is expensive because it is no longer made, but that it is good for putting out fires in computer labs. Nobody knows why.

I learn the finer points of using a fire extinguisher: how to pull the pin, aim the hose, and squeeze the trigger to secure my elementary school battle zone.

I learn, when in a medical emergency, how to sort injuries, to assess what I must do to secure the most good for the most students. Because I am an educator, I can now ascertain in seconds who can wait to receive medical care, who needs urgent care, and who is beyond care: “Victim is dead—no care required.”

Meanwhile, my classroom sits waiting, waiting for me to prepare with great care the atmosphere and materials I need to give each individual child every opportunity to learn.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the October 17, 2007 edition of Education Week as In-Service

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Leadership in Education: Building Collaborative Teams and Driving Innovation
Learn strategies to build strong teams, foster innovation, & drive student success.
Content provided by Follett Learning
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Principals, Lead Stronger in the New School Year
Join this free virtual event for a deep dive on the skills and motivation you need to put your best foot forward in the new year.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Privacy & Security Webinar
Navigating Modern Data Protection & Privacy in Education
Explore the modern landscape of data loss prevention in education and learn actionable strategies to protect sensitive data.
Content provided by  Symantec & Carahsoft

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety Roads Around Schools Are Unsafe, Principals Say. Here's What to Do About It
Traffic conditions aren't fully within school leaders' control. But there are still steps schools can take to help students arrive safely.
4 min read
Focus is on a flashing school bus stop sign in the foreground as a group of schoolchildren cross a parking lot with the help of a crossing guard in the distance.
E+
School Climate & Safety Video Should Teachers Carry Guns? How Two Principals Answer This Question
One has two armed school employees. The other thinks arming teachers is a bad idea.
4 min read
People hold signs in the gallery against a bill that would allow some teachers to be armed in schools during a legislative session in the House chamber on April 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn.
People hold signs in the gallery against a bill that would allow some teachers to be armed in schools during a legislative session in the House chamber on April 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn.
George Walker IV/AP
School Climate & Safety Former Uvalde Police Chief Indicted Over Response to Robb Elementary Shooting
The former chief and another former officer face felony charges of child endangerment and abandonment.
3 min read
Flowers are placed around a welcome sign outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Wednesday, May 25, 2022, to honor the victims killed in Tuesday's shooting at the school.
Flowers are placed around a welcome sign outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Wednesday, May 25, 2022, to honor the victims killed in the shooting at the school.
Jae C. Hong/AP
School Climate & Safety Can a Teachers' 'Bill of Rights' Bring Order to the Classroom?
Alabama's new law gives teachers the authority to remove misbehaving students from class.
4 min read
Image of a student sitting outside of a doorway.
DigitalVision