Teacher Describes Harrowing Experience Of An Active Shooter Lockdown

Frequent school shootings are forcing children across the U.S. to prepare for the possibility that they may die in class. One teacher shared what that's like.

A fifth-grade teacher by the name of Ali Kemp took to Twitter on Tuesday to share a harrowing experience she and her students went through during an active shooter lockdown that was ultimately a false alarm. Her thread went viral but has since been deleted.

"Today, I cowered in a closet with my fifth grade students," she said in the now-deleted thread. "I locked doors and switched off tech. They wiggled and squished and whimpered. I squished in after."

Kemp said that teachers and students first heard an alarming announcement declaring that they should all commence the lockdown procedure and that it was not a drill.

After 15 seconds of panic in the small space, a second announcement came through the intercom making a correction — the school should proceed with a lockout, not a lockdown. A lockout is a drill in which a threat exists outside the school and requires that any students outside enter the building, all doors be locked, and for security to guard the outer perimeter; a lockdown is when the threat is inside the building and mandates that lights be shut off, doors be locked, and students remain quiet in a hiding area.

Although the entire experience lasted only 30 seconds, it still forced the children and their teacher to confront the possibility that they might be murdered by a shooter. Despite assuring her class that schools are safe places to be, Kemp said she could sense that, at just 10 years old, the students already knew her platitudes were empty.

Kemp ended her thread by urging people to take action by participating in marches and writing and calling their legislators.

“Because it just...shouldn’t be like this,” she wrote. “We shouldn’t have to live like any one of us could be a victim. So all of us must be the change.”

She’s right. If you’d like to be part of the movement for stricter gun control, a good way to do so is by keeping up with Everytown, an activist group fighting for gun reform across the country. Their list of “7 Actions You Can Take to Prevent Gun Violence” is an easy starting point.

There are several upcoming demonstrations to keep in mind, if you'd like to participate. Organizers of the Women's March have scheduled the "Enough" national school walkout for March 14; on March 24, half a million people are expected to take part in the "March for our Lives" protest in Washington D.C.; on April 20, thousands of students and teachers have pledged to carry out another national school walkout

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