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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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Chapter 6. A Question About People



“That gives me an idea how the study worked. You have this framework of topics in which you pose questions, about two people, Mike and Melissa. And Melissa is my friend.” Janice said.

“That’s right! You’re catching on!” I replied.

“I taught with Melissa, but I don’t know Mike. Maybe I’m unclear. Did he teach at another school? I don’t remember a ‘Mike’ at our school,” Janice asked.

“You’re right – he taught in another state. Since Melissa was the only teacher who witnessed that school shooting, it would be difficult to compare her experience with someone there. Besides, I also wanted different systems, hoping that would help me understand how the responses helped or hindered the recoveries.”

“So, there would be similarities and differences. Like different towns and schools.”

“Yes, there were. I found there were enough similarities to make a comparison worthwhile, and the differences could shed some light into why things worked out differently as well.”

“So, tell me about the cities and the people …” Janice suggested.

An Answer

Introducing the Communities

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