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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 14. A Question About Checking Data



“If the participants could ‘drive’ the interviews, how can you make sure what they said is valid? How did you remember all that they said?” Janice asked.

“I used what we call transcription, and validation. The interviews were recorded.”

“And then what?”

An Answer

Transcription and Validation

Once the interview data were electronically gathered, the responses to each question were transcribed into a Microsoft Word file. Phone calls and email correspondence served as validations of the transcribed material. These files were saved a second time; one file was used as the original transcript for each participant; the other was used for data coding. This component of the project was completed within one week.

Data Storage

Components of the Data

There were three major components of the data being acquired for this project: interview recordings and transcriptions, documents related to the experiences of Melissa and Mike, and notes taken by the investigator. During the process of developing the final research report (thesis), all three were kept isolated from everyone except the investigator and the investigator’s committee.

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