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Halfbaked n’ Bothered: Reading, Writing, & Zigzagging.

Ever wonder what the teachers do on those couple of work days before the kids come? Well it used to be something called “continuing education” which mostly meant learning the latest innovations in Teaching which were mostly the same old ways with catchy new names: Action Subtraction, Reading Rocks! Mysteries in Histories.  Teachers could expect to be pummeled by platitudes. If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.  There’s no I in team. In today’s preposterous world, however you are more likely to attend a lecture on Suicide Prevention, Effects of Opioids on the Brain or Middle School Sexting Practices.  I was recently subjected to a series of seminars on “School Safety” which no longer means having band-aids and alcohol swabs in your desk drawer. Today, “School Safety” is a palatable way to say Active Shooter Training.  Over two days we received a mixed message mishmash of information which basically presented two schools of thought. One being the three-ring binder approach which called for designated staff members to be the Emergency Evacuation Director, the Aggressor Alert Administrator, Crisis Response Coordinator,  Runner (Won’t that be all of us?) and Panic Control Counselor.

On day two our presenters clearly thought that the Three Ring Binder business was complete hooey.  Their manly no-nonsense approach was to treat the faculty to an FBI produced movie which we were assured was Hollywood quality. The film graphically portrayed an active shooter situation on a college campus complete with bleeding body- strewn staircases and devastated parents. We then took a 5 minute break so we could huddle in the teachers lounge and blubber like babies.  We returned red-eyed and shaking to learn that if a gun toting loony entered our school we had only three options, run, hide or fight.  We learned that those choosing the “run” option should do so in a zigzaggy sort of way. We learned where to “meet up” if we weren’t dead. We learned that calling 911 would probably be a waste of time since the operators would be overwhelmed. No, wait, go ahead and call them. What else are you going to do while crouched down in the Janitor’s bucket waiting for the Crisis Response Coordinator to save you? We found out that we could confront the Bushmaster AR 15 carrying crazy dude with whatever we had on hand, scissors, bug spray, x-acto knives or even water bottles (stainless steel only please, not those squishy plastic ones) Anyone thinking about staging an attack on our local schools had better think twice. They might have to engage in hand to hand combat with a hostile Art teacher armed with can of spray starch and a kinda heavy box of macaroni.     

Please, I don’t mean to make light of school shootings. It just seems that our Great American Institutions are very coordinated on bracing us for the greatest horror of our lives but a little light on preventing these horrors from happening. I don’t see the big deal in background checks if one kid gets to live out his life. I don’t really worry that a reduction in automatic weapons will make me less safe. I don’t really mind if some of my tax dollars help identify and treat mentally disturbed individuals. I realize that’s not a very pumped up, tattooed, and patriotically paranoid position. I’m just skeptical about safety by seminar. Besides, if I ever hear gun shots in our school, I’m pretty sure, I’ll scream like a ninny and pee my pants. Beyond that, there’s no predicting.

– HashtagWV #105. September 2018.

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HashtagWV Art & Entertainment is a high-quality print and digital multimedia platform for all things West Virginia and the greater Appalachian region. The editorial focus is local music, unique shopping, the arts, events, theatre, and food and drinks.