The Last Shield

Almost 100% of my blog posts have been sarcastic, tongue in cheek, self-deprecating. It’s kind of my thing. 

This will not be one of those posts. 

My former hallway.

Like most of the nation I’m almost paralyzed watching the news unfold about the Uvalde shooting. Several friends are posting memes, starting threads in parent groups, texting each other, reaching out in anyway. We are all in shock, yet … not in shock. Because here we are again

I do two things when I start ‘feeling’ … I run or I write. I ran this morning but was so consumed with my thoughts about Uvalde that I had to write. It’s my own therapy – so read or don’t read. This is mainly for me.

As a former elementary teacher my mind can’t help but go back to the hallways and classrooms I shared with my students. This most recent horrific event has me focusing specifically on the 4th grade teachers at my last school, my second home. The ones that helped raise both my daughters. My mind pictures these very teachers, these wonderful women that looked across a desk from my girls…that hugged them…. that loved them … that treated them like they were their own. I envision each of these women in this exact situation. But I don’t have to wonder how they would handle it, I know how they would handle it. They would handle it just like the two heroic teachers in Uvalde handled it. 

They would be the last shield.

Honestly, this extends to all my daughters’ teachers. It’s just what teachers do. The lump in my throat is mammoth when my mind goes to the darkest of places where these teachers would have to give their lives to protect my entire world

So to my daughters’ former and current teachers … to ALL the other teachers and staff currently in classrooms today that should be protected and feel safe but have to be ready for the ‘awful’ …. you know … just in case, I shout –

I’M SO SORRY. SO VERY VERY SORRY. But BLESS YOU and THANK YOU. Thank you. Thank. You!

A few years back when I was teaching first grade there was a potentially armed individual in the area that police were trying to apprehend. They felt he may have been hiding in our vicinity, so our school went into a soft lock down for about two or three days. When you are in a soft lock down you are primarily housed all day in your own classroom. All extra movement around the campus is avoided and there is no outside recess. All classroom windows are covered to the outside and classroom doors remain locked and closed. The classroom stays together at all times. I remember taking my entire class to the restroom because every time we took a break, I would purposely position myself between the outside door and my students. It seems silly, right? The doors were locked. But as I stood there I stared at that door. I envisioned an unstable and desperate person running up to that door looking for refuge. I pictured this person trying to open the locked doors. I visualized this person shooting the glass to gain entry. Be prepared, Amy. This was honestly my thought EVERY time we were in that hall. I know it sounds dramatic to those who haven’t been in that situation, but if we have learned ANYTHING from the countless school shootings…you just don’t know. You. Just. Don’t. Know. I felt I owed it to my students to be that prepared, no matter how extreme my mind made the imaginary scenario. And again, it’s just what teachers do. I wonder though, do other people in their jobs visualize this kind of thing and mentally prepare for it … just in case?! I will never forget those two, maybe three days but I can almost guarantee that my students that year had no idea what was happening. They were children. They deserved to feel safe even when we felt scared. We made being stuck in our room fun. “Mrs. Evans, can we have Flashlight Friday on Thursday?” Yep. “Can we play with your special floor puzzles (that I normally saved for a math unit)?” Yep. “Can we write on the Smartboard?” Yep. “Can we use your special markers and draw on your fancy paper?” Yep. 

To all the things ….Yep. 

Eventually this person was apprehended. Thankfully. 

But Uvalde. Those teachers. Those children. That room. I’m frozen.

With the updates unfolding, interviews with family members, pictures of smiling happy children that are no longer here, and stories of heroic teachers using their bodies as shields, I cry. I mourn.

And I feel sick. 

Speaking of feeling sick, Google ‘school shootings’. It’s nothing short of disgusting. Be warned though, it will take you quite a while to scroll through all the listings. What are we doing?!?!? Why is this STILL happening? 

I think it would be extremely difficult for me to get out of bed today if I were one of those families that had lost a child, a teacher, a mom to something that didn’t have to happen. 

It didn’t have to happen.

Y’all. Please. 

4 Comments on “The Last Shield

  1. I agree, WHY is this still happening?!? I read that there have been 212 school shooting this year, so many that they don’t even all may the news, and it’s MAY, FFS. Common sense gun laws, prioritizing people/children over guns and voting for people who advocate for these things are the only way to affect change.

    Thank you for your post, as always, your writing is beautiful and impactful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. This situation is horrific and disgusting. I truly don’t understand the mindset of not making children a priority in whatever capacity other than ‘thoughts and prayers.’ Mind. Blowing.

      Like

  2. This. Is. Everything.

    I commented on the actual blog post, I think the first one (?), but it came up as anonymous. 😉

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amy, this is so beautifully written. It is at once hauntingly raw and delicately tender. Thank you for sharing. Sarah Layman (Jessica’s mom)

    Like

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