As Rick Healey and his wife were taking a tour of the kindergarten class where their 5-year-old girl will go to school next fall, they came across a poem that stopped them in their tracks.
Lock the door
Shut the lights off
Say no more
The lyrics are plastered on a white piece of paper in large, colorful markers in Ms. Kim’s class at Arthur D. Healey School in Somerville, Massachusetts.
“I recognize the necessity of it, I know why it’s necessary, but it upsets me and disgusts me that it is necessary,” Healey told CNN. (He’s not related to the person the school is named for.)
Healey’s wife, Georgy Cohen, posted a photo of the poem and tweeted: “This should not be hanging in my soon-to-be kindergartner’s classroom.”
This should not be hanging in my soon-to-be-kindergartener’s classroom. pic.twitter.com/mWiJVdddpH
— Georgy Cohen (@radiofreegeorgy) June 6, 2018
The Many Steps Schools Are Taking
With an average of one attack a week this year alone, school shootings are now a reality students and teachers live with. And school officials are trying to tackle the danger however they can.
In Pennsylvania, a middle school handed out bullet-resistant shields. Louisiana now allows kids to carry bulletproof backpacks in the halls. And in California, students fed up with lawmakers’ inaction took matters into their own hands by writing their own gun control bill.
Somervile Mayor Joseph Curtatone and School Superintendent the poem in Kim Conley’s class is an example of “how one of our educators used a rhyme to help her young students stay calm and remember the key steps they would need to follow during a drill or real emergency.”
“As much as we would prefer that school lockdowns not be a part of the educational experience, unfortunately this is the world we live in,” they said in a statement to CNN. “It is jarring — it’s jarring for students, for educators, and for families.”
The Painful Feelings It Brings Up
Go behind the desk and hide
Wait until it’s safe inside
Healey said reading the poem reminded him of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School — his alma mater and the target of a February 14 shooting that left 17 dead and several others wounded.
Seeing the lyrics brought up “difficult, negative feelings,” he said.
Since 2009, the US has seen 57 times as many school shootings as six other industrialized nations combined.
The fear is so pervasive that last month, students around the nation shared a hashtag “#IfIDieInASchoolShooting, offering a woeful glimpse into the sense of apparent inevitability that someday soon, they’ll be felled by bullets on campus.
Students Taking Action
As students face the fear of a changing learning environment, they have moved to have their voices heard and their position seen across the world.
Back on March 14, students from around the U.S. participated in The National School Walkout. Instead of sitting in a classroom learning, students stood united in a message of wanting to feel safe in their schools. The walkout happened exactly one month after the tragic shooting at Majority Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
This Is The New Normal
A few weeks ago, Cohen said their daughter came home, excited to share a fun game she played with her pre-K class: try to stay quiet for one whole minute, just like during a lockdown.
“This shouldn’t be something that we get used to,” Cohen said. “We need to keep being jarred, upset and shook.”
As Healey and Cohen talked to CNN, their daughter was cheerfully playing with Legos, unaware of how conversations of guns, shootings, lockdowns and fear have become so commonplace.
it’s all done
Now it’s time to have