February 14, 2018 has turned into another September 11, 2001 for me. I will never forget where I was and what I was doing when I first heard the news of each tragic event. With September 11, I was walking through the teacher’s lounge when I heard in passing about a plane hitting a building in New York and caught a glimpse of some video. I didn’t think much of it at the time and went back to my classroom prepared to teach. No teaching happened that day and life how we knew it changed forever.

On February 14 of this year, as I sat in a data chat meeting with my assistant principal, my team, and a few other people, my friend looked at her phone and suddenly gasped. She quickly filled us in on what what happening. Again, I was shaken by the news, but thought (no, I hoped) that it would turn out to be another false alarm, just hearsay, just some rumors being passed around, but it wasn’t. I had another class period to teach so I headed back to my classroom. Again, no teaching happened for the rest of that day as we got word, little by little, about what was unfolding.

But this time it was so different.

This time the news tore me apart in a completely different way. All I could do was pray, pray that my God would comfort those who were hurting, save those who were fighting for their lives, and give me the strength I needed to be strong for those around me, the peace I needed not to succumb to fear.

You see, as a teacher at a school only 15 miles from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, this hit too close to home. Before I could even try to wrap my head around how I was feeling about everything, I was first faced with the task of comforting and consoling my 8th grade students who were frightened and worried that since the gunman was still at large at that time, there was a possibility that he could be heading our way.

“She’s so calm,” was what one of my students commented about my outward demeanor. Inside, I was desperately trying to process everything I was hearing and seeing while not adding to the tension and apprehension that was slowly seeping into my classroom. I had to hold it together for my students. Numerous questions were sent my way. After all, I was the adult in the room, so of course, my students believed that I had all of the answers.  We had been placed on a soft lock down as a precaution. This, in turn, caused my students to start asking if their parents could come and pick them up, yet most of them were afraid of leaving the safety of my classroom to even walk outside. At that moment, so much responsibility was put into my hands all while I worried about the safety of my own children. My seven-year-old son was on the same lock down in his aftercare program on my school campus. My older son, was, hopefully, on his way home from his high school on the other side of town.

But this time it was so different.

While my students and I should have been reviewing the parts of an essay for an upcoming statewide assessment, I was instead reviewing the procedures if we were to go on a Code Red lock down. Where in the room would we be the safest? What did we do if the fire alarm went off in the midst of it or someone knocked on the door? Remember to stay off your cell phones; stay away from the windows. Don’t panic. Help would be coming. Wait for the all clear signal to come.

But this time it was so different.

I’d all seen on the news the stories of the mass shootings at other schools, threatening notes sent over social media, some who’d brought guns to school but were caught before they could carry out their plans, so I knew the threat was very real. We teachers had started the school year off with a special training for what to do if there were ever an active shooter on campus. We even had to endure listening to an actual phone call made by a teacher during the Sandy Hook shooting. We practiced for what would happen if we were under a Code Red and the fire alarm was pulled. We even practiced evacuating the entire school to another location should the need ever arrive.

But somewhere in your mind it’s always just a drill. It will never happen here. It can’t happen here.

But this time it was so different.

I have old coworkers who currently work at Stoneman Douglas and the middle school next to it. I have a coworker whose son and daughter attend school there and were there when it happened. I have other coworkers who live in the same neighborhood, who pass by the school going to and from work and have neighbors who were direclty affected by the events. My dad delivers mail to one of the families who lost their child. A woman who works at my children’s dentist office told me about her daughter fearfully hiding in a portable with 27 other students for hours. I have a student who lost friends in the shooting and still came to school the next day and shared her grief with us. I’ve had to read an email to my students explaining to them how we (their teachers) would be there for them if they needed to talk even as my voice shook, and I struggled not to cry. I’ve had to review with my own son’s their schools’ plans for emergency situations just to be sure they know exactly what to do.

But this time it was so different.

It wasn’t THEM this time. It was US. Even though we have always felt a certain unity with the teachers and parents of those other schools in other states, this week it really hit home.

 It can happen anywhere, at any time, to any of us.

My mind keeps going back to the same questions. Why? Why does this keep happening? What can we do to prevent another one from happening? Why aren’t we doing more? How many lives must we lose before something is done? Will I be ready if it happens at my school?

What would I do if it were my child?

Who will protect the children?

Are we really going to make them do it on their own?

I pray that this opens the door for meaningful conversations to happen, for those who CAN change this to open their eyes, to question what needs to be done. As of right now, it’s the kids who are standing up and speaking their minds. It’s the kids who are screaming out that enough is enough. It’s the kids who are out marching and protesting and planning walkouts. It’s the kids who are calling the adults on their foolishness and their BS. It’s the kids who are saying that they will make a change.

We should be embarrassed. We’re the ones here to protect them, not the other way around.

Are their lives not more important than our winning an argument? How long before WE, the adults, decide that enough is enough?

How many parents have to bury their children before our hearts and minds are open to change?



America, something has to change! Now is not the time for our country to be divided! As you can see, division has only served to hurt us more! Division has only served to hurt the innocent who for too long have had no voice! As you can see, there clearly is a problem! Now is not the time to pick a winner or a loser! Now is the time to do what is right! Let’s stand up against the violence and stand up for our children! Let’s stand up and use some freaking common sense! What we’ve been doing is NOT working!

It’s time for us to stand up in love and do what we know we need to do, what we have to do to ensure the safety of our children. The last thing any child should ever feel at school is fear.

Personally, I choose to stand on God’s word during this time, and anything that I do will be done from a place of faith and love because my trust is in Him. Believe me, I am angry, and I am desperate for change, too. I know that change can happen.

It’s whether or not we will put aside our differences and make it happen.

Or will this be, like all of the other times, another forgotten cause until the next shooting happens?

Will we get it together before we allow this to happen again?

I don’t know the answers, but I am willing to help.

Not one more child, please.

Not one more child.

Who will protect our children?



22 comments on “Who Will Protect the Children?”

  1. I was asked a question on Facebook last year about what is going on with our country especially our children and my answer was I believe it’s so many things that you can’t just pick one. My personal thought we live in denial about so many things that are wrong in the USA that it’s not just about one person, place or thing we can call for gun control however it won’t eliminate the amount of illegal guns that are already out there and not counting the fact that his gun was legal, however we can put a age limit on purchasing a gun (yet at his age he can join the army to be trained to use the same gun for this country) however we have trained adults doing the same thing (Airport shooting). This world puts everything and everyone in a box when in fact each individual needs to be treated on a case by case basis. That young man was so wrong in what he did but what stood out more to me was how the students thought process was to record what was happening. We have a lost generation of kids and adults and until we look in the mirror and do self reflection while accepting we have things we need to fix individually with the help of God nothing will change. This problem is so big, hurtful and divided. And let’s not forget hurt people hurt people…. Great Blog

    • You are so right!!! Love your response! So many factors to consider. My favorite is the fact that we are in denial about all of the problems in the USA. No one wants to be real about what is going on and what needs to be fixed. I’m just so tired of it all!

  2. Yes, sister me to and what took the cake for me was the fact the school board is sending out emails and voice mails asking everyone to keep the family of the victims in your prayers however prayer was taken out of the school and you educators dare not mention God or prayer in school how twisted is that (denial)

  3. Wow. For a second I forgot I was reading a blog and not a fictional story. I’m so glad you and your students were safe and will continue to pray for the people impacted. It sounds like you did a great job managing this in front of your students.

  4. This story was very powerful. I’m so sorry that you had to experience this, and i’m so sorry that anyone has to go through this in our country. I wish that we could come up with a thoughtful solution, something that will propel *real* change.

  5. I am all the way in Oregon but I am sure most have heard of the senseless shootings here. When I heard of the shooting in Florida the first thing I did was prayed. I am a mother of two son’s ages 23 and 9. Schools have drastically changed since my oldest was in school and safety is a huge problem. Kids are suffering from depression and anxiety at early ages in part due to the decisions of adults and it bothers me so much. Like you said this is not about winning an argument it is about DOING WHAT’S RIGHT! These kids are our future and have been loud and clear that grown folks need to get it together! I do what I can, pray, and am active and involved in my son’s school. I refuse to be that parent that is clueless to what’s really going with with my children and their education. Thank you for giving our brains something to marinate on. Great job!

  6. I pray that you continue to have the faith and strength that you do. It can sometimes be rough when horrible things like this happen and thru reading your post I cannot directly feel the emotions because I just wasn’t there but my mind traveled enough to almost connect with your feelings. You’re correct something needs to be done. No debate just results. Please keep your faith strong I will definitely have you and everyone effected by this issue in my prayers

  7. I’m so sorry you have to try to navigate such difficult emotions. It’s overwhelmingly tragic.

    Here in the UK it seems obvious you need gun control and obvious the old school mentality needs to shift. I hope you see it happen. 🖤

  8. I really had to prepare myself mentally before I could really read this and digest it bc the whole situation brings me more pain than I care to describe and I can’t even begin to imagine how you must feel let alone the loved ones of the victims. There’s a lot of pain and suffering in this world which is heartbreaking enough, but when innocent children who haven’t even had the chance to experience life are the victims it honestly tears me to pieces. Then I think about all of the injustice and tragedy that the media doesn’t bother to broadcast and I am reminded once again that we can do nothing but depend on God. Wishing you the very best, it’s not easy but you will get through it! Praying for your safety!!!

    • I so agree! We have to totally depend on Him through all of this. Don’t know where I would be in this crazy world without my faith in God!

  9. You’re definitely in prayers, there’s no easy way to get your head around it but like I love how you’re prayerful… keep your head up beautiful girl this is one of the most powerful posts I’ve ever read keep it up hun ❤️

  10. This was very powerful and brought me to tears which has never happened reading anything. Your story is so raw and powerful. And you honestly spoke my exact thoughts. These poor babies out here having to be fearful and afraid for their right to simply live being snatched away. It’s so saddening and disheartening. This is a wonderful post and I hope that as many people as possible read it and understand how serious this problem is and how SOMETHING needs to be done.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful words! It was hard for me to even write this. I am hoping that more people read it and really start the conversation that needs to happen. I am so proud of the students who are speaking up!

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