In the wake of the Parkside shooting, many American schools have started discussions and lessons on active shooter situations to prepare students. One teacher, Marissa Schimmoeller, who teaches at Delphos Jefferson High School, a public high school located in Allen County, Ohio, recently had to give a lesson on active shooting drills to her class; being disabled and in a wheelchair, Schimmoeller told her students that she would physically be unable to protect because of her condition, emphasizing that they will need to do whatever they can to escape safely. In order to help her, Schimmoeller’s students helped to create an escape plan for her that has since gone viral.
The teacher shared her story on social media
Sharing her story on Facebook, Schimmoeller explained to her students that, while assuring that she cares deeply for them, she would physically be unable to help them in a crisis if an active shooter attacked the school, also telling them that they should be more concerned with protecting themselves than helping her if the need arises:
“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: ‘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. Your safety is my number one priority.'”
Continuing her story, Schimmoeller explained her students’ response to her suggestion to sacrifice her to save themselves touched her heart:
“Slowly, quietly, as the words I had said sunk in, another student raised their hand. She said, ‘Mrs. Schimmoeller, we already talked about it. If anything happens, we are going to carry you.'”
“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. It was found in the hearts of my students today.”
The story goes viral, but Schimmoeller want the focus to be on the students
As seen above, the school has issued a press release that said Schimmoeller was touched by the reactions she received from people around the country, adding that she has had many interviews with the press since the story went viral; in addition, it was emphasized that Schimmoeller wanted the focus of this story to be on her students instead of herself.
On Facebook, Schimmoeller shared the press release with the following statement:
“I am so humbled by this experience. My focus is and will always be the education of my amazing students. Thank you for all the kind words and support!”