To the Editor:
“Unprepared” is the word that comes to mind when I think of my level of competency for dealing with a school shooting. The opinion essay “What Ed. Schools Can Do About School Shootings (And Other Overwhelming Problems)” (July 31, 2019) attempts to provide a blueprint that colleges should follow to prepare their students for today’s education world. Teacher-preparation programs need to revamp their curriculum to place the same emphasis on mental health and crisis readiness as they do on learning theories.
I pursued the education field because I wanted to make a difference. That used to mean teaching students valuable tools, such as how to read. Now, in addition to making sure my students are achieving high levels of proficiency on standardized tests, I must show my students how to handle themselves in the event of a school shooting. As much as we don’t want to think that a school shooting could happen, Sandy Hook taught us that it can happen anywhere. My question is what are our leaders doing to prepare us to keep ourselves and 32 students safe?
On July 26, CNN reported that there have been 22 school shootings this year alone. As of July 26, I had not received any training within my school to assist me with identifying the “warning” signs of a shooting.
There needs to be an acknowledgement by the government that this is an epidemic, and there needs to be a comprehensive school safety plan put in place to equip all school staff with the means to protect themselves—without having to carry a gun. Continuous training on the collegiate and professional level are necessary to deal with our harsh reality in order to have a chance at pulling through what has become a “typical” school day.
Cambria Heights, N.Y.
A version of this article appeared in the September 04, 2019 edition of Education Week as Teachers Aren’t Prepared for School Shootings