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  • Writer's picturealaurafilbin

26 May 2022: An Educator's Reaction to Tragedy

In the wake of another tragedy, the American people are sending out tragic infographics, adding names to seemingly never-ending lists, and declaring "never again"—unfortunately, "never again" would require stricter gun control, which seems unlikely in this broken country.

I'm not going to go on my anti-gun tirade today, but I did want to share where my mind is at, as an educator.

For those who are unaware, I work in an elementary autism program, which brings its own challenges and deficits: sensory issues, behavioral issues, academic struggles, hygiene struggles, communication issues... The list goes on. We do everything we can for these kids, from teaching them their letters and numbers to potty-training and food exposure.

But what are we supposed to do in a situation like a school shooting?

We're expected to keep these kids safe and we walk into school committed to that cause. We're given trainings, told how to look for lines of sight when walking into a room, and shown how to use fire extinguishers in self-defense.

But if guns go off, how many of my kids would start crying and screaming? How many would try to elope from the situation?

How am I supposed to protect them from senseless violence?

My situation is not unique. Being in special education doesn't make my concerns special, but I can't help but worry for my students.

That fear lives in the back of my mind, rent-free.

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