In case you are living under a rock, or paying attention to the farce that has become our presidential race, you know that there was yet another shooting on a college campus.
At a school I attended.
In case you need to refresh and update on the incident, you can read about it here: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-mainak-sarkar-ucla-20160602-snap-story.html
I didn't say much about this yesterday. I had many thoughts. Many feelings. Incidents like these never start with a threat of death. They start with angry emails. Posts to social media. Negative reviews on sites that rate teachers. Spewing negativity to others about said professor. THEN it escalates.
When I entered education, I was trained how to teach. How students learn. How they cope. How to handle crisis. How to counsel.
More recently, I've been trained on safety measures. How to recognize and refer students in distress and dealing with potential mental illness. And unfortunately, how to deal with active shooter situations. I learned that a belt tied around the top of a door closer can stop it from opening. Doors were made to prevent students from locking themselves inside and doing things that they shouldn't be doing in school - no one thought about students having to shelter in place. I expect to attend training and professional development on my discipline, new learning and teaching methods, how to use the new online student learning system.
I shouldn't have to attend yearly safety training on how to protect myself from a campus shooter.
I've been threatened by a student. Harassed. All of the things I've mentioned above. I've taken a hit to my professional reputation due to negative reviews online. I know that my colleagues have as well. My circle has gathered around when we needed to provide support for each other - it takes a toll. It makes you question why you do what you do. It breaks your spirit. It breaks your soul. Know we do our best, and practice under the "do no harm" mantra. What happens when someone wants to do harm to one of us? It's something I have to think about more than I want to. It's something that make yesterday's killing of a respected and beloved university professor all too real for me.
Every time I see an email from a student, I feel a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Why? Because I still feel everything from what happened in the past. With one student. One harasser (30+emails). One threat. A big one. This individual left messages. Left posts. These need to be reported. Stopped. Could reporting the messages/posts/comments have stopped yesterday's shooting? I would hope so, but it likely wouldn't have.
It's unfortunate that our educational systems have to deal with this. We should be spreading knowledge. Messages of progress. Innovation. Critical thought. Peace. Not violence. Not gunfire.
I mourn the loss of a great professor, even though we've never met. I mourn the loss of his knowledge, his kindness to students, his mentorship to others. I mourn for his family. His children. The life that was lost.
#WearOrange #InSolidarity #Educationatyourownrisk #stoptheshootings #findanotherway #Ishouldnthavetobeafraid #protectourstudents #protectourprofessors