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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 15. A Question About Analyzing Data



“Every answer you give seems to generate one or two more questions!” Janice exclaimed.

“There’ nothing wrong with that. I understood that myself as I did my study. The more I discovered, the more questions I had!”

“So, did the ‘data,’ or the interviews, help you prove your point?”

“Well, yes and no. You start out with an hypothesis, and then allow the data to sway your model. I started out with a ‘guess,’ but the more I worked on this the more I saw the answer was changing.”

“What do you mean?”

“I have to admit that I came in feeling that how a teacher handles a school shooting is dependent on how the school deals with it.”

“And it’s not?”

“Well, again, yes and no. As I sifted and analyzed, I saw it was more complicated than that. In fact, a big chunk of my final chapter has to do with a ‘formula’ approach to answering how school shootings affect teachers. There are a lot of variables,” I responded.

“Is that what’s called ‘inductive’?” Janice asked.

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