An Elementary School’s Answer to Gun Violence

My wife, daughters, and me were watching basketball the other night on TV. My youngest is coloring, my oldest is yelling at the players, my wife is folding clothes… nothing unusual. Until my oldest out of nowhere started to talk about what her teacher said to do if someone with a gun comes in.

End School Zone 1“She said that we should all get in this one corner of the room, because in that corner you can’t see us through the window on the door… and she said that we could hide behind desks… and she said that we should throw books at them.”

We talked more about it and she said that her school is also starting a new thing where they lock all the school doors. Even the front door. No one in. If you want to come in, you have to ring a bell at the front school door and someone will come get you.

We asked what she thought about all this and she mostly shrugged, “it’s weird to have to ring a doorbell to go to school.”

The locked door idea sounds good, but dudes, school kids hiding in a corner in the classroom — that’s one of the big ideas? Throwing books at someone with an AK47? Surely we can solve this problem better than that. Right, dudes? Right?


An Elementary School’s Answer to Gun Violence — 26 Comments

  1. We need a societal change where schools are sacred again. Laws and precautions cannot protect us 100%. So much has changed from when I grew up in the sixties and I am very concerned where it is going. Parents need to teach their children values and we need to fund mental health facilities. I was just talking to my wife about guns and the shootings. All the things President Obama proposed does not do anything regarding the gun owner in terms of responsibility. The Newtown shooter had legal weapons taken from his mother. I think the gun owner should be legally responsible for the murders. In this case she is dead. Guns are lost, stolen and sold without liability. We do more with cars than guns.
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  2. Right. I don’t have the answer. However, I do know that you should never confront an attacker that way. Sounds like the teachers need some extra training.

    • I know! Our kids haven’t been trained in anything, and they’re supposed to throw books at a shooter? That’s got disaster written all over it, man! Everyone needs some more training to figure this stuff out.

    • My oldest doesn’t seem too upset about it, I’m wondering if it’s because this is becoming sort of “normal”. It’s crazy for all of us older people to hear about these shootings, but in teh case of my oldest, she was just a baby when 9/11 happened. This all is sorta normal for her to hear about, so she’s not as upset as I am about it! Which is sad, dude, I agree.

  3. Honestly, when someone goes into an elementary school filled with little kids, and carries a gun and starts using it, there really is no answer. After the Sandy Hook news story broke, I refused to watch the news for a week because I simply couldn’t bear watching coverage, it was so heartbreaking to me. As a parent of two little ones not yet in school, I can only pray that these things stop happening.
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  4. “We can do more, right?” Sure! We should throw pencils, too!

    I’m not even sure how I feel about the teacher having that talk with the kids. I understand being ready and all, but is this the new world? In the 50’s we protected ourselves from nuclear bombs by hiding under the desk (equally as silly) and now….throwing books at the dude with the gun.
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    • Ha, throw pencils. I forgot about that nuclear scare stuff in the 50s…maybe each generation has their scares? And each generation has dumb solutions? Of course the nuclear bomb attack thing never happened in the 50s, and the school shootings are happening now.

  5. I was a senior when Columbine happened. My HS actually implemented drills where the teacher locked the door, turned off the lights, and closed the blinds and we all hid under our desks. I remember getting a demerit for commenting about the Cuban Missle Crisis. My English teacher had no sense of humor. Maybe I should have waited until we had the drill during history!

    When I was a substitute, the outside doors for all of the schools were locked from 15 minutes past the start of classes to 15 minutes before the end of the day. During that time, you had to swipe your ID (permanent staff), or get buzzed in by the office.

    That said, aren’t locked doors during operating hours a fire code violation?
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  6. I’ll begin by saying that I was on campus at Virginia Tech during the “massacre.” The whole “school-shooting” stuff is extremely sensitive, but even more-so with me.

    One thing that usually erks me is peoples’ responses. “WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!” “WE CAN’T LET THIS HAPPEN!” These statements are obvious, but it doesn’t solve the problem. If someone wants to kill, they will find a way to kill. I don’t think any proposed legislation or executive order is going to bring about a solution.

    I think you actually proposed the best solution, without knowing it, in this article when you said you were spending time with your children. Spending time with them, talking to them, educating them – that’s the best solution.
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  7. Yeah, I think every generation has their own scare issues and entirely useless solutions proposed because: you have to do *something*.

    But it’s not utterly unexpected, everyone feels the need and yet it’s a complicated (I’m sure) answer that can’t stop at: “take away the guns, give guns to people in schools, ummmmm.”

    I know quite a few teachers who see the problems with putting guns in schools, not least of which: THEY don’t want to carry them and how do you ensure that those authorized guns don’t get into the hands of the disgruntled in schools? Students, teachers, administrators. But we don’t want to do nothing. So … we throw books … Sigh.
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  8. Throw books at a guy with an AK47? Oh, dear. Does anyone in education still have an IQ?

    Yeah, we had the dumb solutions going on in the 50s, too. Duck and cover…oh my god, was that stuff stupid. They used to take us out and line us up on the halls for these air-raid drills. Some administrative moron would yell FLASH!!!! And we were all supposed to throw ourselves on the floor face-first. But…uhm…see, both long sides of the building were lined ceiling to floor with windows. So before we were incinerated, we be slashed to hamburger by the flying glass.

    Lock the doors? Uh huh. The school Adam Lanza raided was locked — he broke his way in. Unless every classroom door has one of those super-secure deadbolts that throws several bolts through the frame and into a stud, an AK47 (or just about any other gun) can easily shoot out the lock. An AK47 (or just about any semiautomatic) will shoot through drywall like it was air — all a person has to do is walk up the hall shooting through the walls at waist level and he’ll hit plenty of people on the other side, especially if he aims slightly downward to hit those huddled on the floor.

    What needs to happen is to find out why we’re suddenly having a plague of crazies running amok in public places. This behavior is something new. We need to know what’s causing it. Americans have had guns for generations…that suggests it’s not just the presence of weapons. Something is pushing sick individuals way off the deep end. Whatever that something is, that’s what we need to address.
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  10. Teacher here. We just had a drill on what to do when an intruder is in the building. A bunch of teachers ‘failed’ because they figured it was ‘just a drill’. My district decided to bring in the police to discuss the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ thing to do. Hide is numero uno. Your daughter’s teacher is right…build a desk wall, etc….Lastly, the police told us if the intruder actually makes it into your classroom you have to TRY…in other words, your daughters teacher was right again. Anything you can do is better than just sitting there and getting shot. The intruder is in the classroom to kill your students and you. Books, staplers, chair throwing might not stop an AK-47…but then again, maybe a well thrown book will give students and their teacher the slimmest of chances. Sometimes that’s all you need.

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  12. You’re right, we can solve this kind of problem better than throwing books at someone who has a gun. School security should be tightening up. More strict, more alert and prepared to defend and protect the safety of all people within the premises. It’s freaking scary to know that even the place we expect our children to be safe, is not safe anymore.
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