An Ohio teacher’s account of her conversation with students following the Florida school shooting is spreading like wildfire on Facebook.
Marissa Schimmoeller is a wheelchair-bound teacher. She was already nervous about talking to her students about what to do in case of a school shooting. But her students’ surprising response had her in tears.
“Today was really hard for me,” Schimmoeller wrote in an emotional Facebook post that has been shared more than 23,000 times as of the time of this publication. “Today was the first time I had to teach the day after a mass school shooting. I dreaded facing my students this morning, and as the first students walked in, I began to feel the anxiety pooling in my stomach.”
But there was one question Schimmoeller dreaded even more than having to talk about a school shooting.
“I was dreading one, specific question,” Schimmoeller wrote. “Soon after class began, a freshman asked me the question I had been dreading since I had heard about the tragedy in Florida.”
“Mrs. Schimmoeller,” one student asked. “What will we do if a shooter comes in your room?”
Schimmoeller knew that she would have to tell the students to leave her behind in case they needed to escape quickly.
“My stomach sank. I launched into my pre-planned speech about our plan of action. Then, I knew I had to say the harder part,” she wrote.
“I want you to know that I care deeply about each and every one of you and that I will do everything I can to protect you. 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,” Schimmoeller continued. “Your safety is my number one priority.”
But as her instructions sank in, a student slowly raised her hand.
“Mrs. Schimmoeller, we already talked about it. If anything happens, we are going to carry you.”
This is the moment that Schimmoeller couldn’t hold back her tears.
“I lost it. With tears in my eyes as I type this, I want my friends and family to know that I understand that it is hard to find the good in the world, especially after a tragedy like the one that we have watched unfold, but there is good. True goodness,” she wrote. “It was found in the hearts of my students today.”