Students Vow To Carry Teacher With Disability If There’s Gun Violence
👇 Proof there’s still good in the world. 👇
Teachers all over the country faced the same question from students when they returned to class after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida.
“What should we do if a shooter comes here?”
Marissa Schimmoeller, a high school English teacher in Delphos, Ohio, was dreading it.
“As the first students walked in, I began to feel the anxiety pooling in my stomach,” she said in a Facebook post.
Today was really hard for me. Today was the first time I had to teach the day after a mass school shooting. I dreaded…
Marissa had an extra layer of anxiety to deal with: she’s disabled and uses a wheelchair, which she knew would hamper her ability to protect students during a crisis.
“I want you to know that I care deeply about each and every one of you,” Marissa told her students. “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.”
The students sat silently for a moment, Marissa said. Then one raised a hand.
“Mrs. Schimmoeller, we already talked about it. If anything happens, we are going to carry you.”
This kid’s words inspired Marissa to write her emotional Facebook post. In the space of a few hours, it went viral.
“It was just really impactful,” Marissa tearfully told Morning Dose TV on Feb. 22.
Despite the reach of her words on social media, Marissa told Dose she wanted people to focus on students.
“I don’t deserve the attention at all,” she said. “It’s very humbling and I’m very flattered but the people that deserve the attention are my students and my coworkers, and the victims and survivors in Florida.”
Like Marissa, Facebook users from around the world were touched by the students’ compassion:
Though the tragedy in Florida has left a lot of people feeling depressed and helpfless, Marissa is hopeful.
“In times of tragedy it’s easy to be angry. I know I was, too, and I still am,” she said.
“But I think there’s so much goodness in our students and there’s so much goodness in these children, I think we owe it to them to make a change. I don’t know what that change is, I don’t have all the answers but I do know that they deserve more than what they’re getting.”
Top image: Marissa Schimmoeller via Upworthy