I’m so lost this week. My apologies for the scattered mess below…..
I’m a teacher in Broward County, Florida. I don’t teach at Marjory Stoneman Douglas but I live and teach very close by. My personal friends teach there and have children that attend MSD. My own children have friends that go to MSD. My colleagues lost their children and family members last week. Their stories of bravery, loss, tragedy, fear, heroism and survival are permanent. Our hearts are broken in Broward County. Teachers, students, parents, administrators, office staff, custodians, bus drivers, cafeteria workers. All of us.
Our county schools have regular Active Killer drills. It’s a sad fact of life in today’s society. We barricade doors, retreat to closets, hide behind bookcases, turn off lights and remain still and quiet. We hide and wait for the All Clear. We are told to open the door for no one. Not a teacher, administrator or student. (Thankfully, a teacher broke that rule on Wednesday and allowed my friend’s daughter in her classroom to escape gunfire.) The drills may be routine, but they’re always eerie and uncomfortable. We’ve been told many times that it’s not a matter of if, but when. Not where I live. Not in this affluent, beautifully landscaped, tropical suburb of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Safely tucked inside our gated communities. Not here. It’s unimaginable.
Today I am sad, angry, frustrated and filled with anxiety. I’m also extremely annoyed that it’s been only a few days and this is already turning into a political shit show about mental illness, civil rights and the NRA. Our school system hasn’t stopped to breathe. Shooting on Wednesday. Thursday was back to business. The same for Friday. And tomorrow. Thank goodness this was a 3 day weekend and I’m doing my best to avoid all social media and news channels. Until it all starts again tomorrow. I just don’t want to feel any of this. Our schools have come together with great unity and love and support but we need a chance to breathe. I, along with every teacher I know, would have put ourselves at risk to shield our students from those bullets. Our students are our kids. There is a lot of change that needs to happen. A LOT OF CHANGE. I’m not sure where it even starts – or how. The one thing that will never change is my love for my students and teaching, and the people I share my profession with.