A Teacher’s Tale in the Midst of the Terror in our Schools

Students’ active-shooter plan for teacher in wheelchair: ‘We will carry you’

Like teachers all over the country, Marissa Schimmoeller returned to her high school classroom the day after the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last week with a heavy heart. She told TODAY Parents she knew the day would be a tough one for her ninth and tenth grade English students at Delphos Jefferson High School in Delphos, Ohio.

Schimmoeller went to school that day prepared to tell her students exactly what they should do in the case of an active shooter on their own campus. It turned out her students had a plan of their own — and when Schimmoeller revealed one key detail of it in an emotional Facebook post, the story quickly went viral.

https://d-2850075959693106796.ampproject.net/1518441587106/frame.html“Today was really hard for me. Today was the first time I had to teach the day after a mass school shooting,” Shimmoeller wrote. “I was dreading one specific question. Soon after class began, a freshman asked me the question I had been dreading since I had heard about the tragedy in Florida.

‘Mrs. Schimmoeller,’ she asked. ‘What will we do if a shooter comes in your room?'”

This is 24-year-old Schimmoeller’s first year of teaching, and she has more considerations that others when it comes to active shooter drills in her classroom: Schimmoeller was born with cerebral palsy and she uses a wheelchair.

Her students are familiar with the day-to-day implications of her condition, she told TODAY Parents. “I begin on the first day by talking about my disability,” she said. “I tell them that they may be asked to assist me in the classroom — by passing out papers or writing on the board for me — and I allow them to ask me any questions they want to.

“However, last Friday was the first time that I had to share my limitations in terms of protecting them.”

When her student asked what they should do in case of an attack, Schimmoeller said she felt “a bolt of fear and sadness run through me. I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I want them to feel safe in my classroom.”

A teacher spoke to her high school students about how if there is a shooter on campus, they cannot worry about her.
High school teacher Marissa Schimmoeller has explained to her students about her disability, cerebral palsy, before, but last week was the first time she had to address how her limitations would affect them in the case of an active shooter on their school campus.Marissa Schimmoeller

On Facebook, Schimmoeller wrote that she told the students, “I want you to know that I care deeply about each and every one of you and that I will do everything I can to protect you. But — being in a wheelchair, I will not be able to protect you the way an able-bodied teacher will. And if there is a chance for you to escape, I want you to go. Do not worry about me. Your safety is my number one priority.”

Her students had other plans. “Slowly, quietly, as the words I had said sunk in, another student raised their hand,” Schimmoeller wrote.

“She said, ‘Mrs. Schimmoeller, we already talked about it. If anything happens, we are going to carry you.'”

The story has been liked over 33,000 times on Facebook and shared more than 18,000 times.

“I think my post has touched people so deeply because of the goodness it highlights,” said Schimmoeller. “So often, when there is a tragedy, it is easy to feel angry and hurt. When I was in front of those amazing kids as they told me they would carry me out of our building, if, God forbid, we were faced with a situation like the one in Florida, it occurred to me that every child, every one of my students, is so full of light and goodness.”

“I wanted to share that with those around me, because I spent so much of my day angry about the violence, and I knew that people needed reminding of the good in this world just as much as I did,” she said.

Schimmoeller told TODAY Parents her students mean “everything” to her. “They are the reason I went into teaching. They are the reason I get out of bed to teach every day,” she said. “I think building positive relationships with students is one of the most, if not the most, important thing a teacher can do for their students.”

Let the STUDENTS RISE!

Let Love Conquer Hate!

Let Teachers Teach!

 

((Originally published on Today.comhttps://www.today.com/amp/parents/students-have-active-shooter-plan-teacher-wheelchair-t123597))

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Here’s My Lesson Plan

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Unchained and Free – My Life Lesson Plan

Unchained and free.
Liberated and alive.
Curious and full of wonder.

That is my lesson objective for the children.

Writing words of truth.
Declaring phrases or empowerment.
Thinking critically.
Creating new and awesome products.

Those are my planned activities for the students.

Making the world ripe for peace.
Fostering justice and equity for all.
Spreading love, learning, and awareness wherever they roam.

That is my home work assignment.

Unchained and free.
That is the title of my life lesson plan.

And what standard am I teaching?
The student will assimilate ways to save humanity.

Will you join me?
Will you engage in liberation?
Will you touch a generation with fierce passion?

If you do,
Your final evaluation score will be beyond innovating.

Together let us  set free a generation chained to stupid standards, invalid tests, and abusive segregation.

This poem is dedicated to my friend Dr. James Avington Miller Jr. of The War Report on Public Education and his vision for schools where Positive Youth Development – PYD – is the key to life-long learning.

Let’s Call it What it IS – Educational Apartheid

Please watch this short two minute video created by Michael Elliot  – 2 School Districts, 1 Ugly Truth.

In our fight for justice for ALL children, this inequitable funding machine has got to be taken down. The fight is happening here in CT, in TX, and all across our nation. The answer is not more technology for the poorer districts. The answer is updated facilities, smaller classroom sizes, and well-prepared and supported teachers.

Please help spread this very vital message and help bring down a funding system that encourages the “haves” to have more and the “have nots” to be fed cheap online quick fixes.

Thanks to Superintendent John Kuhn and NPE for speaking up for education.

The Genius of Luis Torres: How PS 55 Responded to the Charter Challenge by Mark Naison

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One of the most brilliant and important achievements of PS 55’s visionary Principal, Luis E Torres, is that through innovative programming and a relentless public relations campaign, he has totally overshadowed the Success Academy Charter School co-located in his building! Normally, Success Academy tries to humiliate and stigmatize the public schools it is co-located by pointing out how much better it’s performance is! Not at PS 55! Here, the action, innovation and excitement is all with the public school, whether it is the scientific and pedagogical innovations of the Green Bronx Machine, the school based agriculture program housed at the School; the full service Medical clinic Principal Torres has created; or the school’s championship step team and basketball team! People from all over the city and the nation come to see what Principal Torres has done; while Success Academy stays in the background.

This is what should happen all over!! Principals and teachers should not just roll over when a charter comes into their building; they should show everyone what public education at its Best can do, which is draw on the resources of entire communities! And what I mean by community resources is not only the cultural capital of the neighborhood  the school is located, but the skills and resources of everyone in the city and the country who supports public education. Principal Torres has done this brilliantly

Everyone seeking to defend public education against the relentless charter attack needs to visit his school and draw upon his innovative and inspiring strategies not only in programming, but in public relations!

(Reblogged from With a Brooklyn Accent)

Co-Opted Language: Decoding Ed Reform’s New Sales Pitch from Wrench in the Gears

The biggest battle we have in preserving our public schools is to recapture our profession lexicon. When you hear and read these terms, closely examine the source. This list defines the terms the way they are defined by the corporate reformers profiting from the destruction of true education. But the real meanings behind most of these terms are still good and valid.

Together let us determine to take back these terms and show the world that educators love, cherish, and truly care about the well being of the nation’s children.

Thank you.

Wrench in the Gears

The words used to promote “future ready” public education do not mean to reformers what they mean to you. This post is intended to pull back the curtain and expose the truth behind venture capital’s shiny promises of “personalized” tech-centered, data-driven learning. The list below features vocabulary that should be on everyone’s radar. Short definitions link to more detailed descriptions written from the point of view of the reformers-if they had to tell the truth about their plans to swap neighborhood schools for learning ecosystems. Complete list of long form definitions available here. One-page PDF handout for sharing available here.

1:1 Devices: A program where each child has their own data-gathering device for “anywhere learning.” More

Anytime, Anywhere Learning: A push to disconnect education from “constraints” of buildings and teachers. More

Assessment Reform / Computer Adaptive Testing: Punitive end of year tests exchanged for perpetual monitoring of online…

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Educate Before You Medicate – Please Read and Share

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I haven’t been around much lately and I have a pretty good excuse. On Thursday, September 21st, I woke up not feeling well. I thought I might be coming down with a sore throat or a sinus infection. I had a sore throat and a fever. Surprisingly the fever was 102 but I didn’t feel like I had that high of a fever. That should have been my first warning something was not right. When I woke up the next morning, my eyes were all red, my fever still 102, my throat and mouth really sore, and I had a rash all over my chest, arm, neck and face. It took until the following Monday for me to insist on going to the ER. By then my fever was 103, the rash was all over my body, my eyes were inflamed and I could hardly see, I couldn’t walk because of the burns on my feet, and my mouth was full of sores and bleeding.

When I got to the ER, the ICU doctor was ready to admit me but the ER doctor did not want me to stay in the hospital. He insisted I be ambulanced to the only Burn Unit in CT. My husband and I were shocked. I thought I had an infectious disease.

What I had were chemical burns all over my body. I was in mortal danger. I had SJS – Stevens Johnson Syndrome – precipitated from being on the gout medicine Allopurinal for only 14 days before first symptoms.

It’s been a long six weeks. I spent nine days in the burn unit and had the best of care. The awful burn symptoms finally stopped trying to kill me on the following Friday, September 29th. Up until that point, my life was in the hands of the doctors and nurses as my body was doing all it could to literally burn me to death from the inside out. Once my body started fighting, I started to get better. The burns started to scab over instead of fester and ooze. That was when I knew I was going to survive.

I had surgery on my eyes to try to restore and regrow my tear ducts and membranes. That was on October 1. They discharged me on the following day and I have been home healing ever since.  I can see but have severe photosensitivity. My mouth is healing. The burns all over my body are fading. My recovery is slow but steady.

One of my new purposes in writing is going to be to make my readers aware of the dangers inherent in the drugs we put into our bodies. Please ask why you are being given a medicine and if there are other alternatives. Please research the drugs you are prescribed before you ingest them. Please search the Internet for stories. I know you cannot believe all you read on the Internet, but many, like me, are posting our stories to try to help people and prevent pain and suffering.

The really terrifying thing about SJS, besides the fact few doctors and fewer laypeople even know of the syndrome, is that it can be initiated by many different drugs.

My message to my readers is to be careful and thoughtful and intelligent about what drugs you are taking. Ask questions and do not always believe what you are told.

I should have taken tart cherry juice for the pain in my toe. Or at least tried it before taking the Allopurinal. I should have insisted on an X-ray. I should have prayed.

I am one of the lucky ones. I am one of the blessed. Many die from this syndrome, Many more go blind. I know that the prayers of those who knew what I was going through were heard and helped usher me from death to healing. I thank all of you who knew and cared and prayed and sent messages. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I am a SJS survivor and I want the world to know about this syndrome.

Here is a link to the Stevens Johnson Syndrome Foundation for more information.

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Something Is Rotten In The State Of Connecticut by Ann Cronin

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It is time for CT to move against the infiltration of charter schools. Thanks to Ann Cronin for this post.

Real Learning CT

On July 19, 2017, the unelected, governor-appointed Connecticut State Board of Education approved 504 additional seats in state charter schools for next year, with 154 of those seats going to Capital Preparatory Harbor School in Bridgeport.

GO FIGURE:

Connecticut is in a budget crisis with every expense being monitored, yet new charter school seats, which cost the state $11,000 each, are being initiated. The cost will be more than $5.5 million.

PLUS

The new seats will cost the beleaguered and impoverished Bridgeport Public Schools money it cannot afford and will strip them of much needed resources. The Bridgeport Board of Education unanimously voted against the expansion plan because the cost of adding grades to Capital Prep Harbor School requires the Bridgeport Public Schools to pay additional costs for transportation and other services at an additional location.

PLUS

The expansion plan for Capital Prep Harbor School, approved by the State Board of…

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