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  • Approved for CNN

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    Posted December 17, 2012 by
    rhallman
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Newtown school shooting: Thoughts and tributes

    rhallman and 14 other iReporters contributed to Open Story: Tributes for Newtown
    More from rhallman

    Sandy Hook - A Teachers' Thoughts

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     rhallman is retired from the military and now works as a substitute teacher for elementary school children. He says in the military they teach you preparedness, and he believes teachers should be taught to prepare for an emergency response. He also believes it should be incorporated into school’s safety programs. He says the incident in Newtown affects more than just the victims and the town. 'The state, the country, the world is affected,' he said. 'We are not a better place because of it, we have to be proactive and prevent this from happening again, and so we can leave a legacy for the kids that perished in that horrible incident.'
    - Jareen, CNN iReport producer

    I just can’t find words that would convey my thoughts, feelings and emotions in the aftermath of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. As a substitute school teacher I teach Pre-Kindergarten thru 5th Grade. I have taught 1st Grade many times during the past five years. We’ve had lockdown security drills many times. I think most teachers don’t believe that something like Sandy Hook could ever happen to their school and their classroom. I am also a commissioned security officer and can work jobs that require an armed security officer. Teachers are already present in the schools so in essence they are the first responders during emergencies. One solution I’d like to propose for school district safety offices to consider is the training and development of teacher emergency response teams. They could train with the district safety office and local law enforcement agencies. They could receive the training in firearms and firearms safety and be allowed to keep a firearm with them at school. I believe that the districts would be able to identify teachers who would volunteer to do the extra training. The firearms could be kept in a locked security container that only the trained teachers could access. Of course the weapons should be kept in separate locations in case a hostage taker or a shooter was in a location that prevented access to the emergency weapon. Emergency response teams could be made up of 2-4 teachers. Of primary importance is to ensure student safety, teacher safety, and staff safety. Schools should implement more dynamic safety drills for students and teachers. As we have seen, keeping students in a classroom sometimes does not work. Questions that teachers need to ask themselves before the next school shooting are:
    How do I get my kids out of the school if I know someone is trying to hurt them? How can I talk to the police? How do I communicate with my principal? They might have to go out the windows if they can’t go into the hallways. That’s what some did at Columbine. Some schools use radios but the teachers need to check them daily and they need to be proficient in using them. A separate channel or frequency should be set on the radio so a teacher can communicate with outside authorities if need be. These are just a few suggestions for improving school safety.
    Right now though our thoughts and prayers must be with those families who lost children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and the surviving students, faculty and staff. We need to include the responders who witnessed this senseless tragedy. We as a people cannot allow the slaughter to continue. We must take action on school safety and we must determine solutions which will ensure safer and better control of weapons. If we do that, this will be our legacy to those lives which were taken from us.

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