Editor’s Note: While this article was originally written in response to Uvalde, mass shootings continue to plague our schools, and we feel these teachers’ messages are more important than ever.
In the wake of the devastating shooting in Uvalde, many of us have struggled to even find the words of what it’s like to teach right now.
“I’m so sick of all the rhetoric,” wrote one teacher in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook. “I don’t want to die at work. I don’t want my students to die. I’m just so angry.”
It’s a sentiment many of us feel. And to help the public understand what’s at stake every day in our classrooms, some teachers are sharing the horrifying lengths they go to to make their classrooms safe for their students.
These videos can be hard to watch, so please take care. But we think they are worth sharing so that the world knows just how much we’re putting on teachers and kids.
“I keep several cans of wasp spray in my classroom.”
Reply to @lisamartinsmith most teachers said this was what they have just in case 🥺😭💔 #waspspray #schoollockdown #lockdown #lockdown #teachersoftiktok #teachertalk #teachers #justincase #schoollife #elementaryschoolADVERTISEMENT
“I bought a bat and a Barracuda door lock.”
Barracuda door bar. This is used to stop an intruder from opening my classroom door. It’s super easy to use and they have a few different kinds on their website. There’s a floor bar, door handle bar or a door hinge lock. #teacher #school #teachersoftiktok #survivefirstgrade #teacherlife #teach #safety #schoolsafety #firstgrade #firstgradeteacher
“This rubber door stop lives behind my door.”
Source: Lauren Casteen on Facebook
“My kids think I love tea. But really I keep hot water to throw on an intruder.”
The chair trick we all know …
“I bought a door lock on Amazon for $12.”
“I keep a bulletproof backpack with tourniquets in my first grade classroom.”
Bulletproof backpack I keep in my first grade classroom. I keep this closest to the door easily accessible. It has a two plates and a vest inside. #teacher #school #teachersoftiktok #survivefirstgrade #teacherlife #teach #safety #schoolsafety #firstgrade #firstgradeteacher
“My plan is to hide, fight, and run.”
The bottom line is, the burden shouldn’t be on teachers and kids to figure out how to navigate on their own. We shouldn’t have to fend for our lives using staplers and hockey pucks. We need common-sense gun control measures (supported by the majority of Americans) and better mental health support in our schools and our communities. And we need people to listen to teachers, because at this point we’re exhausted and broken.