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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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It was hard to turn away from the baseball game I was watching, but my phone kept ringing. I didn’t recognize the number, so I decided that, in the top of the ninth inning, with the score tied, I’d let it go to voicemail.

My team won, and I had forgotten about the call. While in the kitchen making a sandwich, my wife asked me who had called. She pointed ay my phone. As I took a bite, I shook my head.

“What call?” I asked after swallowing.

“I know the phone rang.” She responded.

I turned and looked at my cell phone, and, sure enough, the message light was shining. I walked over to the counter and picked up the phone.

“Looks like you’re right. I think it was some telemarketer or something. I’ll check,” I said as I put down my sandwich, then typed in the code for retrieving messages. There was one, and I listened to it. A familiar voice came through the speaker.

“Hi, Ed, it’s Melissa. Janice tracked me down and let me know you wanted to re-connect. I appreciate that you still remember me …” I took a deep breath.

“Whoa!” I exclaimed. My wife turned toward me.

“Who was it? Is everything okay?” She asked.

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