ANDERSON, S.C. (WSPA) – One Upstate teacher says a viral photo of a young girl standing on a toilet is a reminder of how mass shootings haunt teachers every year in the classroom.
“It broke my heart,” said Amy Campbell, who works at Calhoun Academy of the Arts. “When I grew up, we didn’t have to worry about anything like that and now we have to be on alert.”
Like many teachers and parents around the nation Campbell, the Anderson kindergarten teacher, related to the fear and sadness seen in the viral post on gun control. The photo is from a mom, heartbroken after learning why her daughter was standing on a toilet, for a school active shooter drill.
On a 7 News Facebook post of the story, Campbell left the following comment:
“I’m a public school teacher. It’s an honor and its humbling to know that the lives of innocents are in my hands daily. We have to practice these drills because of the world we live in now. I have the knowledge that I can squeeze 21 children into my classroom bathroom to keep them safe. I block the door myself, knowing that I would be the first hit. Memories of Columbine and Sandy Hook swirl in my mind as we practice these drills. I try to tell them that we are learning how to keep safe. It lessens the scare. I also tell them that my first job is to love them, my second job is to keep them safe, and my third job is to teach.”
Campbell says she and her 21 young students pack into a locked hiding spot every year, practicing for the chance an armed and dangerous gunman could invade their school.
“I basically just say sometimes there is not so nice people in the world and we have to do this to keep safe,” Campbell said on how she explains the drills to her students.
During an active shooter situation, if teachers and students are in the hallway, they are told to find the nearest room and to hide and lock the door.
Ever since the Sandy Hook shooting, the teacher of 12 years says images of that day and Columbine make the threat feel all too real.
“It changed and it hit home and it became real. We knew the world was different,” she added. “It makes your stomach hurt and your heart hurt knowing that someone would hurt innocent children.”
It’s a practice she’s glad to see ever classroom endure. She says the drills help make school one of the safest place any child could be.
“I block the door with my own body knowing that if there is somebody coming in, I’ll be the first one hit but any teacher worth their salt would do the same,” she explained.
It’s better to be prepared for the worst, Campbell says, without living and teaching every day in fear.
“It is a wake up call really for me, to know that I have got to be aware all of the time,” Campbell said.
Greenville and Spartanburg county schools have also practiced lock down drills at schools for years.
In Greenville county students are also shown a video on how to respond to an active shooter.