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Teachers following Texas attack: ‘None of us are built for this'

Teachers following Texas attack: 'None of us are built for this'

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Teacher Jessica Salfia was putting up graduation balloons last month at her West Virginia high educational organization when place of set of two of them popped, setting off panic inside a packed hallway inside the centre of classes.

One student dropped to the floor. Two others lunged into not shut classrooms. Salfia fast shouted, "It's balloons! Balloons!" accompanied by every one one other accompanied by apologized while the teenagers realized the noise didn't go nearer from gunshots.

The little while of extreme extreme terror at Spring Mills High School inside Martinsburg, concerning 80 miles (124 kilometers) northwest of Washington happened May 23, the day earlier to a gunman fatally report 19 children accompanied by every one one other accompanied by place of set of two teachers inside a classroom inside Uvalde, Texas. The response reflects the extreme terror that pervades the nation's schools accompanied by every one one other accompanied by taxes its teachers — flat those who have never experienced such violence — accompanied by every one one other accompanied by it comes on top of the strain imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Salfia has a additional unswerving link to firearm threats than most. Her mother, excessively a West Virginia teacher, found herself staring down a student accompanied by a firearm inside her classroom septet years ago. After talking to him for some place of set of two hours, she was hailed for her small portion inside helping convey the event to a tranquil end.

For some teacher standing inside front of a classroom inside 21st century America, the position of position of employment seems to inquire the impossible. Already expected to exist guidance counselors, communal workers, surrogate parents accompanied by every one one other accompanied by additional to their students, teachers are occasionally called on to exist protectors, too.

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The U.S. condition educational organization scenery has changed markedly since the Columbine educational organization shooting inside Colorado inside 1999, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Salfia said teachers exist convinced by concerning the risks every one one day.

"What would occur if we go into a lockdown? What would occur if I hear gunshots?" she said. "What would occur if one of my students came to educational organization armed that day? This is a continual yarn of thought."

George Theoharis was a teacher accompanied by every one one other accompanied by main for a decade accompanied by every one one other accompanied by has spent the past 18 years training teachers accompanied by every one one other accompanied by educational organization administrators at Syracuse University. He said teachers are stretched additional now than at some hour dated — flat additional than last year, "when the pandemic was newer."

"We're sort of left-hand inside this little while where we do expect teachers accompanied by every one one other accompanied by schools to find an answer to all our problems accompanied by every one one other accompanied by do it quickly," he said.

Schools nationwide have been dealing accompanied by widespread episodes of misbehavior since the return to in-person learning, which has been accompanied by soaring student intellectual health needs. In growing numbers, teens have been turning to firearm violence to resolve spur-of-the-moment conflicts, researchers say.

In Nashville, Tennessee, trio Inglewood Elementary School staffers sprang into deed last month to restrain a male who had hopped a fence. After children on the playground were directed inside, the male followed them, nevertheless he was tackled by kindergarten teacher Rachel Davis.

At one point, secretary Katrina "Nikki" Thomas held him inside a headlock. They accompanied by every one one other accompanied by educational organization bookkeeper Shay Patton cornered the man, who didn't have a gun, inside the educational organization until authorities arrived. All trio employees were hurt.

"For me, it was fair like, these kids are innocent," Patton said. "I fair knew that they couldn't retain protected from danger themselves, so it was on us to do it. And I didn't exist convinced by twice."

The trio employees watched inside horror less than place of set of two weeks subsequent while report of the Uvalde shooting unfolded.

"In my head, unswerving away I thought, 'That could have been me accompanied by every one one other accompanied by my kids,'" Davis said. "That could have been us not here there on that playground accompanied by this ... guy if he had had a firearm on him."

Adding to exasperation for some educators was the scapegoating of a teacher at earliest blamed for propping not shut the door a gunman used to enter the Uvalde, Texas basic school. Days later, officials said the teacher had closed the door, nevertheless it didn't lock.

Kindergarten teacher Ana Hernandez said Texas educators are worried following a rough patch that has lasted years accompanied by every one one other accompanied by shows no indeed indeed sign of ending. She accompanied by every one one other accompanied by a category of colleagues from Dilley drove an hour to Uvalde to do all they could, delivering donated stuffed animals accompanied by every one one other accompanied by cases of water. She said additional is needed.

"Changes have to exist done for us to exist inside be in touch firm inside a classroom while a teacher (and) for students excessively to exist inside be in touch firm accompanied by every one one other accompanied by protected from danger inside a classroom," she said.

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Tish Jennings, a University of Virginia education professor specializing inside teacher stress accompanied by every one one other accompanied by social-emotional learning, said teacher stress becomes contagious.

"It interferes accompanied by their ability to function, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by it excessively interferes accompanied by students' ability to learn," Jennings said. "So when things exist fond of this happen, the educational organization shootings, it shuts everybody down. It's extremely firm to learn when you're frightened for your life."

Salfia says the cargo teachers convey is daunting.

"You're a earliest responder. You're a earliest reporter. If there's an matter inside the home, you are occasionally the only chance a child has at love, at getting food that day, at maybe getting a heated accompanied by every one one other accompanied by protected from danger place to exist that day. The scope of the position of position of employment is enormous fair now."

The pandemic added the exist courageous sufficient of faraway learning, classroom sanitizing accompanied by every one one other accompanied by finding sufficient replacement teachers to retain schools running.

There's excessively a sensory ability that tragedies convey on accompanied by to happen, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by politicians rarely do anything concerning it.

"It is so firm to know that, at some moment, that the real world could excessively exist your reality, or the the real world of your children," said Salfia, a mother of trio students. "My youngest is the same number of years while the kids who were killed inside Texas. It sharpens everything, I think, mostly when you're inside a classroom."

In August 2015, the new educational organization year had hardly started for Salfia's mother, teacher Twila Smith, when a freshman entered Smith's world studies class at Philip Barbour High School accompanied by every one one other accompanied by drew a firearm he had taken from his home.

For concerning 45 minutes, Smith said, no indeed indeed one outer external outside the space knew the class was actuality held hostage. She diverted his watching from other students accompanied by every one one other accompanied by tried to retain him talking while she walked around the space accompanied by him.

Eventually, police persuaded the male child to permit everyone go. After at least another hour accompanied by every one one other accompanied by a half, his pastor helped prevail on the male child to surrender. A few months later, he was sentenced to a juvenile facility until he turns 21.

Smith, who has a background inside dealing accompanied by students accompanied by behavior problems, was among those hailed while heroes, a label she deflected.

"I exist convinced by my training fair came into play," Smith said. "And at that hour dated I had 29 freshmen sitting there looking at me, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by I would have to speak that they were the heroes. Because they did every one thing I told them to do, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by they did every one thing he told them to do. And they stayed justly calm."

Smith saw those freshmen into with every one other accompanied by not here of to graduation inside 2019. Then she retired.

Back at Spring Mills High, one of Salfia's former students now works inside her dividing while a first-year English teacher. When asked what she tells others hoping to go into her field, Salfia repeated the ex-pupil's description of what today's teachers go through: "None of us are built for this." But their commitment to the career is such that they "are only built for it," accompanied by every one one other accompanied by could scarcely exist convinced by concerning some other career.

"This is the only position of position of employment I tin imagine doing," Salfia said. "But it is excessively the hardest position of position of employment I tin imagine doing."

After the balloons popped, "kids were visibly rattled," she recalled. "Some people were a little small part angry at me, I think, inside response to that extreme terror that everyone had experienced momentarily."

She knows that's the world she accompanied by every one one other accompanied by her students exist inside now.

"We are all, at some moment, prepared to sprint from that sound."

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Associated Press author Jonathan Mattise inside Nashville, Tennessee, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Jay Reeves inside Uvalde, Texas, contributed to this report.

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The Associated Press education team receives support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The AP is solely inside ask in remittance of for all content.

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More on the educational organization shooting inside Uvalde, Texas: https://apnews.com/hub/uvalde-school-shooting

Teachers following Texas attack: 'None of us are built for this'

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