Where is Michael Mulgrew loudly declaring action to ensure our safety.
Time magazine wrote, "‘They’re Really on Their Own.’ Santa Fe Reveals the Danger of Being a Substitute Teacher in Era of School Shootings," pointing out the obvious safety hazards that substitute teachers face. Technically, we're not subs. But let's face it, when it comes to security, we ATRs treated that way: left out of getting all the safety materials such as colored cards for the possible lockdowns, and many of us are still left out on getting keys to lock classroom doors.
Here's another clincher: we know that three of the slain students were in the art class that substitute teacher Cynthia Tisdale was covering. One wonders: did Santa Fe substitutes lack keys as many ATRs do? Let that weigh on the conscience. Will DOE refusal to "arm" ATRs with keys lead to a situation in which students die because the school was uncooperative with getting keys to an ATR?
Neither the DOE nor the UFT have given you special tips from the perspective of the perspective of a substitutting teacher --perhaps because it's been so long since any UFT leader was a substitute teacher. Here are some useful comments in the Time article.
In Briscoe’s [one surviving substitute] case, he told the students to cover their mouths based off of what he had heard occurred at other school shootings in the past. “That was something I never learned in training,” Briscoe, who earned around $12 an hour substitute teaching at Santa Fe High School, said. . . . This fight-or-flight mentality applies to all teachers thrust into these terrifying situations — whether they had gone through training or were familiar with the space or not, Briscoe said. But with two mass-casualty school shootings this year thus far, the layout of a classroom and lockdown procedures are on the top of the minds for some substitute teachers at each new gig.
“We’re expected to go in there and do the same job,” said Ginger Swanson, a 44-year-old substitute teacher based in Ohio. “We should have access to the same tools and information.” . . . .
Any time Swanson walks into a new classroom now, she thinks: Is there more than one exit? What’s this building’s floor plan? Can I open that window? Can the kids fit out the window? Can I? Where does the window lead to? What could I use to barricade the door? “You can’t just read your lesson plan and have a day with the kids,” Swanson said. “You have to keep [the potential for a shooting] in the back of your mind now.”(Of course, the 2012 reference is to the Sandy Hook massacre, the largest school shooting to date.)
Swanson didn’t have these thoughts back when she began substitute teaching in 2012. She now wants schools in her counties to host orientations for substitute teachers so they can have a better sense of its protocols, lockdown procedures, layout and more.
Where is the Ginger Swanson in the UFT, advocating for our safety? We need reforms now, or we could become statistics, like Glenda Ann Perkins and Cynthia Tisdale in Santa Fe, Texas.