An Oakland County, Michigan teacher has shared alarming but potentially necessary advice with her fellow instructors about a smarter way to combat an active shooter in the classroom.
Her worst-case scenario suggestion went viral on TikTok with 2.1 million views, as other users discussed the dire state of American schools.
Carly Zacharias, a Spanish teacher in the Berkley School District, shared the video on Jan. 3, made with the help of her students.
“Hey teachers! So if you’re like me, you’ve probably been thinking a lot about your school safety lately,” she began. “I just had an idea… feel free to steal it.”
When she enters her classroom, she points to the opposite wall of windows.
“I have those big windows along my back wall. My kids know Plan A is always to get out that middle window and run across the street,” she explained.
“But of course Plan B is barricading the door and fighting, you all know that,” she says, referring to her colleagues in academia.
She points out that her classroom’s wooden door, which can be locked, also has a large glass pane through which an intruder can easily break through.
“So I thought, what can I just give each student something to prepare for?”
Enter: the hockey puck. Zacharias holds the puck to her camera as she describes why they are the perfect kid-friendly deterrent. “It can really hurt you, especially 30,” she said, referring to what would happen if 30 regulated pucks per 6-ounce of solid rubber were hurled at the shooter at a time.
She has already implemented the protocol in her class. Finding that the new desk accessory was disruptive to some students, she also recommended sticking the puck to the bottom of their desks, “so kids can use them when they need them.”
“Obviously it’s a deterrent, but it definitely makes us feel a little bit better,” she concluded.
The clever, but deeply discouraging hack in the classroom was met with lamentation especially by those who commented on the clip.
“America is a third world country with a gucci belt,” wrote one critic with whom nearly 64,000 others agreed.
“The way you said ‘you all know what it’s like’ scares me,” said another. “In Europe, I’ve never had to have a way to defend myself at school.”
And more than 52,000 endorsed one comment that points to other injustices in public education: “Teachers spend their own money so students can throw something at gunmen. everything is fine.” It is indeed true that many teachers have been forced to use their personal finances for classroom supplies, but until recently have never had defensive weapons on their shopping list.
Active target practice is now a standard facet of public education for more than 95% of American schools, though some have criticized the measure as unnecessarily traumatizing to children. Some schools have even used blanks or bullets to prepare children for an attack.
In 2020, anti-arms group Everytown Formed in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut noted a 42% increase in feelings of anxiety and stress, and 39% in depression, among those who had recently practiced an exercise at their school.
Surprisingly, I’ve seen more kids in my office after lockdown and target practice than at a Columbine or Parkland shooting, New York City child psychologist Joy Levinson said in a 2018 interview with The Post.
She added: “The focus should be on how adults can prevent a gunman from entering the building.”
Sources: New York Post: https://nypost.com/2022/01/24/teachers-active-shooter-hack-sparks-debate-on-tiktok/
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