Your moment of heartbreaking beauty for the day

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Marissa Schimmoeller

Today was really hard for me. Today was the first time I had to teach the day after a mass school shooting. I dreaded facing my students this morning, and as the first students walked in, I began to feel the anxiety pooling in my stomach. I was dreading one, specific question. Soon after class began, a freshman asked me the question I had been dreading since I had heard about the tragedy in Florida.

“Mrs. Schimmoeller,” she asked. “What will we do if a shooter comes in your room?”

My stomach sank. I launched into my pre-planned speech about our plan of action. Then, I knew I had to say the harder part: “I want you to know that I care deeply about each and every one of you and that I will do everything I can to protect you. But – being in a wheelchair, I will not be able to protect you the way an able-bodied teacher will. And if there is a chance for you to escape, I want you to go. Do not worry about me. Your safety is my number one priority.”

Slowly, quietly, as the words I had said sunk in, another student raised their hand. She said, “Mrs. Schimmoeller, we already talked about it. If anything happens, we are going to carry you.”

I lost it. With tears in my eyes as I type this, I want my friends and family to know that I understand that it is hard to find the good in the world, especially after a tragedy like the one that we have watched unfold, but there is good. True goodness. It was found in the hearts of my students today.

The kids are alright.

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