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Teaching After Witnessing a School Shooting

Echoes of Gunfire

Edward Mooney, Jr.

Imagine the hours and weeks after you've witnessed a school shooting. You run the emotional gamut between disorientation and severe anxiety. When you return to the classroom, you're unsure how to cope. Your classroom used to be a safe space; is it still? In this book, the experience of two teachers before, during and after they witnessed school shootings are analyzed to determine the effects of these incidents on their lives. In one case, a teacher who observed a shooting of one student by another, struggled with severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Her issues, along with actions by school administration, led to her psychological disability. In the second case, at a different school, another teacher watched a gunman randomly firing at students; he was able to continue teaching. A comparison helps to understand the psychological and organizational factors that affect educators who witnessed a school shooting.

This book would be critical in courses training school administrators, and for those teaching graduate research courses. In addition, this would be useful for mental health professionals and emergency responders seeking to get a glimpse into what teachers who witness school shootings are going through.

Introduction – A Question About Personal Experience – A Question About Becoming a Teacher – A Question About the History of School Shootings – A Question About Severity – A Question About Designing the Study – A Question About People – A Question About Violence Affecting Teachers – A Question About Supporting Teachers – A Question About the Study’s Focus – A Question About the Teachers Studied – A Question About the Schools Studied – A Question About Working with Participants – A Question About the Interviews and Data – A Question About Checking Data –  A Question About Analyzing Data– A Question About Coding – A Question About Protecting Participants – In Melissa’s Words – In Mike’s Words – A Question About Findings: Melissa –  A Question About Findings: Mike– Contrasting the Two Teachers – The Big Question – What can Schools and Communities Do? – Opportunities for Other Research – Reflecting –  The Last Time I Saw Melissa– The Call Ends – Epilog – Suggested Reading – Index.