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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.

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About the Author


After more than a quarter of a century of service as a high school teacher, Edward Mooney, Ed.D., moved to working as a professor of teacher education. His specialties include educational psychology, instructional methods, research methods and online teaching; in addition, he has supervised a number of student teachers in his newest role. As of this writing, he teaches online at Chadron State College, in Chadron, Nebraska.

As the reader will discover, Edward grew up as an “at-risk” student. Over the years of his childhood, his father descended into the depths of alcoholism, and became abusive, physically and emotionally. A few teachers in high school gave him direction and support, well beyond the curriculum, and awakened him to the power of teachers to change lives.

As he went through college, at Montana State University (B.S.), and the University of California, Riverside (M.A.), he found himself with a number of opportunities to teach a seminar or a class. After those years, he worked as a teacher of computers for Digital Equipment Corporation, where he truly realized how much teaching meant to him. He signed up for night classes and earned his teaching licenses (secondary science and social studies, and multiple subjects) at Chapman University.

Edward has an assortment of outside interests, including vexillology (the study of flags), creative writing, gardening, collecting maps, and camping. He enjoys world cultures, languages, and the study of geology. One of his greatest joys is his family – he’s...

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