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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 26. Reflecting



“It seems you’ve thought this out really well, Ed.” Janice said.

“Not perfectly, but I believe our work has value, and could help someone going into the future.”

“Why did you say, ‘our work?’ ” Janice asked.

“I feel like Melissa, Mike, and a number of other people, contributed a lot. They hung in there with me and were always willing to answer questions.”

“I can imagine this was not easy for them, re-hashing what happened.”

“No, I am sure it wasn’t, but I will tell you that they had great courage and strength. I admire them a lot.” I responded.

“Look at the time! I can’t believe we’ve been talking about this for hours!

I didn’t think I’d keep you like this!” Janice exclaimed.

“No harm, Janice. I appreciate anyone who is willing to hear the stories of these two people. I’m grateful you were willing to be a ‘good ear’.”

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