Reflections on School Shootings: A Tribute to Hero Teachers by Ann Marie Patitucci

Reflections on School Shootings: A Tribute to Hero Teachers

On any given day you can walk into a school in the U.S. and find teachers instructing kids with not only academic needs but social and emotional needs as well. They teach the popular kids and the lonely kids, the reluctant readers and over-achievers, the class clowns and class presidents, those who seem to have everything and those who come to school hungry for breakfast and attention. I have often witnessed the myriad ways that teachers go above and beyond the call of duty to meet the individual needs of these students, despite overcrowded classrooms, limited resources and the pressures of the Common Core Standards Initiative (and, yes, despite modest salaries, too).

Since the start of 2018, teachers at several schools across the U.S. have truly gone above and beyond the call of duty. The active shooter drills they had prepared their students for but hoped they would never need became their nightmare reality. These teachers did what they do best; they instructed our kids. During what was undoubtedly the most terrifying moment of their lives, they led their students to safety, hid kids in closets and even put themselves directly in harm’s way to protect them.

On February 14, in Parkland, Fla., teachers and coaches did just that, and lost their lives doing so. According to Independent, geography teacher and coach Scott Beigel, 35, was shot and killed while directing students to his classroom to hide from the gunman. Student Kelsey Friend told CNN, “Mr. Beigel was my hero and he still will forever be my hero ... I am alive today because of him.” 

Mr. Biegel is indeed a hero. There’s no doubt in my mind that his fellow teachers are heroes, too, for reasons that extend far beyond teaching our kids reading or art or math. They’re heroes for valuing our children as individual humans and learners. They’re heroes for believing in kids who don’t yet believe in themselves. And they’re heroes for trying to keep their students calm and protecting them in the face of horrific circumstances. 

These everyday heroes deserve our support, our respect and our gratitude now more than ever.

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Mike Prochaska
Test resist to 50409 makes it so easy to write your congress person #Resistance #StopNRA Protect our kids and teachers.
Katie Sloan
It breaks my heart. I greatly admire teachers for all they do.
Elisa Schmitz
Thank you for this wonderful tribute to teachers. They truly go above and beyond to care for kids. So sad to see the loss of life. Just not fair. They are heroes, every day, and especially on these tragic days. Thank you, Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead ! 💗
Ann Marie Patitucci
It is truly devastating, Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds . The least we can do is recognize the heroes.
Mindy Hudon, M.S., CCC-SLP
As an educator I thank you for this great message. Nothing in teachers training has prepared them for this. I was once told that I was a first responder now! It freaked me out. I wasn’t trained like a police officer, but my job now requires me to serve and protect! I am happy to protect these babies, but I never thought that I would have to in that way.
Ann Marie Patitucci
The teachers really are the first responders, Mindy Hudon, M.S., CCC-SLP , and you're right; no one trains you for that! Thank you for all you do!

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