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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Dismantle the Boxes

 

man_in_the_box_by_eiyphik

Dismantle the boxes and
cherish humanity
the old
the young
the poor.

Dismantle the boxes and
care for humanity
the rich
the intelligent
the challenged.

Dismantle the boxes and
embrace humanity
the artistic
the creative ~
in all the colors of humanity.

#OptOut4Justice from Mark Naison

The Opt Out movement needs to become more than just a rebellion against high stakes testing. The Opt Out movement needs to fight the injustices of so-called education reforms that strip our children and our teachers of their humanity.

Please watch and share this video created by Michael Elliot and Shoot4Education if you are in agreement.

 

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“Today I resigned from the school board.” From Teacher Wendy Bradshaw PhD

Teacher Wendy Bradshaw PhD from Florida handed in her resignation letter today. Her letter speaks the unspoken words of thousands of professional educators across the country. Her letter is the cry of what is in the hearts of teachers who, also, can no longer harm the children.

Please share her words so just maybe, we can once again have schools that love and tenderly care for the well-being of our most precious gifts – our children and grandchildren. #DoNoHarm

“Today I resigned from the school board. I would like to share with you what I gave them. Feel free to share it if it strikes you as important.

To: The School Board of Polk County, Florida

I love teaching. I love seeing my students’ eyes light up when they grasp a new concept and their bodies straighten with pride and satisfaction when they persevere and accomplish a personal goal. I love watching them practice being good citizens by working with their peers to puzzle out problems, negotiate roles, and share their experiences and understandings of the world. I wanted nothing more than to serve the students of this county, my home, by teaching students and preparing new teachers to teach students well. To this end, I obtained my undergraduate, masters, and doctoral degrees in the field of education. I spent countless hours after school and on weekends poring over research so that I would know and be able to implement the most appropriate and effective methods with my students and encourage their learning and positive attitudes towards learning. I spent countless hours in my classroom conferencing with families and other teachers, reviewing data I collected, and reflecting on my practice so that I could design and differentiate instruction that would best meet the needs of my students each year. I not only love teaching, I am excellent at it, even by the flawed metrics used up until this point. Every evaluation I received rated me as highly effective.

Like many other teachers across the nation, I have become more and more disturbed by the misguided reforms taking place which are robbing my students of a developmentally appropriate education. Developmentally appropriate practice is the bedrock upon which early childhood education best practices are based, and has decades of empirical support behind it. However, the new reforms not only disregard this research, they are actively forcing teachers to engage in practices which are not only ineffective but actively harmful to child development and the learning process. I am absolutely willing to back up these statements with literature from the research base, but I doubt it will be asked for. However, I must be honest. This letter is also deeply personal. I just cannot justify making students cry anymore. They cry with frustration as they are asked to attempt tasks well out of their zone of proximal development. They cry as their hands shake trying to use an antiquated computer mouse on a ten year old desktop computer which they have little experience with, as the computer lab is always closed for testing. Their shoulders slump with defeat as they are put in front of poorly written tests that they cannot read, but must attempt. Their eyes fill with tears as they hunt for letters they have only recently learned so that they can type in responses with little hands which are too small to span the keyboard.

The children don’t only cry. Some misbehave so that they will be the ‘bad kid’ not the ‘stupid kid’, or because their little bodies just can’t sit quietly anymore, or because they don’t know the social rules of school and there is no time to teach them. My master’s degree work focused on behavior disorders, so I can say with confidence that it is not the children who are disordered. The disorder is in the system which requires them to attempt curriculum and demonstrate behaviors far beyond what is appropriate for their age. The disorder is in the system which bars teachers from differentiating instruction meaningfully, which threatens disciplinary action if they decide their students need a five minute break from a difficult concept, or to extend a lesson which is exceptionally engaging. The disorder is in a system which has decided that students and teachers must be regimented to the minute and punished if they deviate. The disorder is in the system which values the scores on wildly inappropriate assessments more than teaching students in a meaningful and research based manner.

On June 8, 2015 my life changed when I gave birth to my daughter. I remember cradling her in the hospital bed on our first night together and thinking, “In five years you will be in kindergarten and will go to school with me.” That thought should have brought me joy, but instead it brought dread. I will not subject my child to this disordered system, and I can no longer in good conscience be a part of it myself. Please accept my resignation from Polk County Public Schools.

Best,
Wendy Bradshaw, Ph.D.”

do no harm
Letter printed with permission from the author.