We received notice from the principal at 2:30 on Monday, 11/26 that there would be a faculty meeting at 2:50. It wasn’t mandatory, but highly suggested that we attend.
As teachers, faculty and staff made their way to the auditorium, there was a sense that something bad was going to happen. Emergency faculty meetings aren’t called unless it’s something serious. We sat there, and the principal took the mic. He then passed it over to a high-ranking district official – the principal’s boss’s boss. She explained that a decision had been made, as a result of the findings of the MSD Public Safety Commission. She said that three administrators & our head security specialist were being reassigned “until further notice.” The superintendent wasn’t there. He was too chicken to face us.
We were given the chance to ask questions. None of them could be answered. What does this mean for observations that tie to performance and overall evaluations? What will this mean for student discipline? Who will handle this? Who will be in charge of that? Who can we talk to if we have issue with this decision? Everything was given “we’ll find out and let you know.” Unacceptable.
I left the meeting angry. Angry that the Commission felt that this was necessary. Angry that decisions were made – once again – without consulting those of us in the classroom. We are broken. We are healing. We are a family. To have members of the family removed without an explanation isn’t right. These four experienced the trauma just like we did – probably worse. People want accountability. People want change. I get that. What this decision is doing is removing people who get us & replacing them with people who don’t.
The higher ups make decisions based on fear from parents. No one talks to us. They ripped four people from us, revictimizing us. How can we heal when this keeps happening?
I went home and immediately reached out to every media contact I had, local and national. There was a protest scheduled for 11/27 at 7:15 in front of the school. There was no question that I’d be there.
I didn’t sleep well. I woke up, took a shower, put on my MSD Strong shirt, got ready for work and was out the door earlier than usual. I met my colleagues in front of school, and stood in solidarity. I spoke to the media about what had transpired the day before.
This decision is furthering the divide in the community, and is ripping the school apart. There are teachers and students who believe the reassignment is just and right. There are the rest of us who disagree with the decision on various levels.
There were tweets and Facebook posts from parents and people in the community about how, by protesting and speaking out, teachers are setting a bad example for the students. That we should shut up, just teach, and keep our opinions to ourselves. I will not get into a catfight with people over social media. I challenge anyone who speaks out against teachers – especially teachers who have been through any level of trauma – to put their money with their mouth is and step into my room and do what I do.
It was just a very heavy day. We were sent an email about the administrators who would be coming to MSD “until further notice,” to fill the roles of those we lost the day before. We were then sent another email about a faculty meeting at 2:50 to meet the new faces at school.
I had a pit in my stomach. I can’t help but wonder who is next? The principal? Teachers from 1200? The larger question is when will district-level employees be held accountable?
I left work and I called my mom then my husband. Have you ever arrived somewhere, but don’t remember how you got from point A to point B? That’s what happened… and I ended up at Starbucks. While sitting in the parking lot, since I never actually got out of my car, I received a message from Abbey Clements, a teacher from Sandy Hook (Newtown, CT). We met when I attended the Student Gun Violence Summit in Washington, DC in October. We became fast friends. It’s nice to have someone who understands the situation you’re in. I cried, ranted, cursed. She listened and gave sage wisdom and advice.
The past two days have brought me right back to 2/14 and the immediate aftermath. My chest is tight. I’m anxious and I feel uncomfortable at work. I hope that we are given answers, that we can continue healing, and that we can all find peace. The anniversary will be here before we know it, and that will open everything up all over again.