Everyday that I walk into my classroom I follow the same routine.
I flip on the lights, do a quick overview of the cleaning that should have taken place, and make my way to my desk. Doing so is a little bit of a dance this year due to overcrowding. All of my classes have over thirty students.
At my desk I put my personal things away, take out my favorite pen from my purse, turn on the computer and log on. I hang up my coat, if I have one, take a sip of my coffee I’ve brought from home, and wait for the computer to get going.
During that time, I scan my lesson plans for the day, quickly remember if I have made all of my copies or not, and settle into my very uncomfortable, creaky, and old desk chair. In spite of a brand new building redo, my room was left with the old teacher furniture. I’m guessing it’s about 30 years old, minimum.
And sometime right about then, immediately after I see the emergency drill poster on the wall, I have the same thought.
Today could be the day. Are you prepared?
I look at the door, the only entrance and exit to my room, all the way on the other side. I remember if I have it on “lock” so that no matter when the door closes, it is locked. I sometimes get up just to check.
I then look around and remember all of our drills. Against the wall, the one a shooter hopefully couldn’t get to, all thirty-plus of us are ordered to gather. Impossible, I think with a sigh because there’s just not enough room, but we’ll do it. We have to.
The checklist rolls on. Turn out the lights. Move the furniture in front to block the entrance if there’s time. Make sure your phone is on, but silenced. Stay calm. Silence and calm the kids. Be their example. Don’t panic. And listen. Listen carefully.
My room has no windows. As I mentioned there is only one way in and one way out. We are an interior room with four heavy cinderblock walls and on one of them, visible through the door window unfortunately, a half wall of cabinets and a closet stand.
If we had to get out of our room quickly and couldn’t use the door, there’s only one other option. Up. We could climb the cabinets, remove the ceiling tiles, and get out. I’ve already checked out where the supports are so that I could tell them where to go once we were up there. Yes, I’ve checked out the ceiling of my classroom as a possible escape.
And if all of that fails, I then briefly address the one last terrible question I have to ask myself.
Am I prepared to die for them?
And although of course I don’t want to die, and of course I think about my own children, it is precisely because of my own children the answer always comes back, yes.
Yes, I would die for any of these children today. If that’s what it came down to, I would do it. Because they are my responsibility. Because they are someone’s child. And I would want my children’s teachers to do the same for them.
I’m not sharing this to be dramatic or invoke some sort of gratitude or anything like that. I’m sharing it because it’s real. This is real. This is what your children’s teachers think about too. Whether you believe it or not. Whether you like them or not. They have been trained to do this. They know this. It’s simply a part of the job these days.
And many days they think, like I do, even if it’s only for a second, this could be the day.
Now thankfully, it’s not. Thankfully the likelihood that something this tragic, this horrific is going to happen is very, very small. But ever since 1999’s Columbine, it’s been a consistent occurrence. And not just in school’s either.
Mass shootings by troubled people with mental health issues who are on dangerous psychotropic medications is not uncommon anymore. And whereas you can’t become paranoid that it’s always about to happen, you can’t pretend like it never could. There has to be a balance.
But as more and more young people are suffering from mental illness…and as more and more of them are being medicated for it…this is a reality all of us must accept. And sadly, teachers are on the front line of that reality.
So as you might imagine, I get just a little bit offended when someone accuses me of being a selfish, immoral, and most recently, schizoid-paranoid conspiracy-theorist who probably doesn’t think the moon landing was real, simply because I have the nerve to question the wisdom and results of injecting humans with mercury for the past 80-plus years, as well as with the most aggressive vaccine schedule in the history of mankind, neither of which has ever been properly or independently tested for safety.
Silly me. I thought I was a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend, and a teacher consciously planning to lay down her life for her students if it were necessary.
Even though it continues, I predicted the nasty name-calling would backfire years ago, and I was right. As evidence the recent “well-meaning, highly-educated, and wrong” campaign was born. (Dr. Nancy Snyderman even tweeted it.)
Although condescending, it was meant to be more digestible. It turns out calling people who question vaccine safety selfish maniacs who want to hurt the world by letting it explode in infectious disease didn’t really sit well with most folks. Not to mention, it’s just not true.
But that shouldn’t have been surprising. If you have to resort to using fear, insults, lies, shame, and coercion to get someone to obey you, trust you, or buy whatever your selling, you have clearly lost your way. In fact, correct me if I’m wrong, those are the common traits of abusers.
Which is why I find it beyond ironic that although I’m willing to lay down my life for my students, I’m the bad guy. I think about whether or not my doctors would lay down their lives for my child, and frankly, I laugh. They don’t even have to pay a fine if they kill a child with a vaccine.
But of course, that’s not funny. Not funny at all, now is it?
Nor is this. A medical machine that produced the most chronically sick generation of kids ever brought into this world (and our classrooms), not only profiting from it, but also denying it, refusing to take any responsibility for it, blaming parents for it, leaving parents, teachers, schools and the victims to fend for themselves in the aftermath, and then using emotionally abusive tactics, pretend science (there is not nor has there ever been a study of the vaccinated versus never vaccinated), and questionable science (done at least in part by a wanted fugitive) to silence their critics and defend themselves, all the while insulating themselves from liability.
I live everyday prepared to die for kids. I also happen to be the mother of a severely mercury poisoned child that recovered. You, Mr. Bully, don’t get to sit behind your computer, your book, or your editorial and pretend to do the same or know the same as I do. You don’t.
I walk the walk. You type it.
And no, I don’t feel guilty for warning people not to poison themselves or their kids. In fact between us, there’s only one of us who believes and adamantly stands by injecting pregnant women and babies with a neurotoxin as a brilliant, completely safe, inconsequential, and responsible idea, going so far as to even suggest there is such a thing as “safe” mercury.
There’s only one of us who defends that ridiculous position with “coincidence” and the science of a wanted fugitive.
And there’s only one of us willing to ignore historical fact because it completely contradicts all that you wish so desperately to be true.
And it’s not me. Well-meaning, highly-educated, right me.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to my lesson planning. I need to prepare my students (two of whom in one class happen to have autism) to be critical, independent thinkers who stand up to bullies even if they are standing alone.
And for the record, of course I would lay down my life for them too.
Julie Obradovic is a Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.