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“Pause it when he gets shot”

My school was on lockdown last Thursday. At recess, 12 shots rang out; we shuttled the children inside and declared a school emergency. Half my students suddenly had to pee. I couldn’t let them go; all doors shut — no movement. Our security guard stopped by each room to announce the danger.

Then, we kept teaching.

The week after Sandy Hook, I’d had nightmares about places I could hide my students if a shooter came — they're little, so I could put them in closets or drawers, I could stand outside the door and try to talk the guy down, I could dial 911 behind my back — but that’s not what our lockdown ended up like.

Our lockdown wasn’t very scary at all. It was usual for New Orleans. Our lockdown meant an 18-year-old boy died a block and a half away -- he was the only intended target, the only death.

His mother, the news reports, cried in the middle of the street and would not stand up for anything. It was 2 o'clock in the afternoon, not a cloud in the sky. And inside my school, as the lockdown ended and we heard the news, I thought: Thank God it’s not one of mine. 

Last year, I taught high school, and when it comes to my big kids, gun violence is a text message I get in the morning while I’m headed to school:

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