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Locked doors, wasp spray and fear: Teachers describe their classrooms in Parkland's aftermath

by NBC News /

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Nearly one month since a gunman walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida and killed 17 people, teachers and students across the country are still trying to resume everyday life in the classroom. On the outside, there's ongoing partisan debate around stricter gun laws and school safety precautions — including whether educators themselves should be armed. But what does everyday life look like in American classrooms? Here's what teachers across the country said in response to an NBC News questionnaire asking what has changed since the shooting — and how the kids are handling the aftermath.

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Image::Image: Black chalkboard|Getty Images"We practice fire drills once a month, but a lockdown drill once a year. When was the last time you saw a school on fire in the news?" —Fort Worth, Texas
"We practice fire drills once a month, but a lockdown drill once a year. When was the last time you saw a school on fire in the news?" —Fort Worth, TexasGetty Images
Image::Image: Black chalkboard|Getty Images"Today I worried that I didn't have enough textbooks in my classroom, not because students needed to read them, but because they could use them as a shield if someone shot at them." —Valparaiso, Ind.
"Today I worried that I didn't have enough textbooks in my classroom, not because students needed to read them, but because they could use them as a shield if someone shot at them." —Valparaiso, Ind.Getty Images
Image::Image: Black chalkboard|Getty Images"I think about what I could do to protect my students, while also understanding any number of them could be the shooter." —League City, Texas
"I think about what I could do to protect my students, while also understanding any number of them could be the shooter." —League City, TexasGetty Images
Image::Image: Black chalkboard|Getty Images"I grew up a hunter and I'm very comfortable around firearms. No amount of range training and proficiency will prepare me for my high school turning into a war zone." —Penn.
"I grew up a hunter and I'm very comfortable around firearms. No amount of range training and proficiency will prepare me for my high school turning into a war zone." —Penn.Getty Images
Image::Image: Black chalkboard|Getty Images|This content is subject to copyright."Teachers have stopped asking 'if' it will be their school next, and instead are asking 'when' will their school be next." —Cottage Grove, Minn.
"Teachers have stopped asking 'if' it will be their school next, and instead are asking 'when' will their school be next." —Cottage Grove, Minn.Getty Images
Image::Image: Black chalkboard|Getty Images"We already had fences, gates, and one point-of-entry during the school day. Now we lock our classroom doors." —Satellite Beach, Fla.
"We already had fences, gates, and one point-of-entry during the school day. Now we lock our classroom doors." —Satellite Beach, Fla.Getty Images
Image::Image: Black chalkboard|Getty Images"I’m pained to think that my students have to even think about a correlation between guns and school. This shouldn't be happening in the United States. My students are nervous." —Vienna, Va.
"I’m pained to think that my students have to even think about a correlation between guns and school. This shouldn't be happening in the United States. My students are nervous." —Vienna, Va.Getty Images
Image::Image: Black chalkboard|Getty Images"My kids express their worry, but they trust us. They trust that we will take care of them and keep calm in unimaginable circumstances."
"My kids express their worry, but they trust us. They trust that we will take care of them and keep calm in unimaginable circumstances."Getty Images
Image::Image: Black chalkboard|Getty Images"I don't know a single teacher who became an educator because he or she wanted to confront an armed assailant in the hallways of a school." —Las Cruces, N.M.
"I don't know a single teacher who became an educator because he or she wanted to confront an armed assailant in the hallways of a school." —Las Cruces, N.M.Getty Images
Image::Image: Black chalkboard|Getty Images|This content is subject to copyright."The idea of arming faculty is repugnant and idiotic — I would immediately retire. We have a gun culture, but it is imperative to find evidence-based solutions that all sides can agree on. This is a crisis!" —Longwood, Fla.
"The idea of arming faculty is repugnant and idiotic — I would immediately retire. We have a gun culture, but it is imperative to find evidence-based solutions that all sides can agree on. This is a crisis!" —Longwood, Fla.Getty Images
Image::Image: Black chalkboard|Getty Images"We conducted a lock down drill which reminded me very much of the old duck and cover nuclear war drills. The look of fear on these kids' faces was heartbreaking." —Los Angeles
"We conducted a lock down drill which reminded me very much of the old duck and cover nuclear war drills. The look of fear on these kids' faces was heartbreaking." —Los AngelesGetty Images
Image::Image: Black chalkboard|Getty Images"Arming teachers will not help the situation. The students will figure what teachers are carrying and go around them if they want to shoot up the school." —Casa Grande, Ariz.
"Arming teachers will not help the situation. The students will figure what teachers are carrying and go around them if they want to shoot up the school." —Casa Grande, Ariz.Getty Images
Image::Image: Black chalkboard|Getty Images"I keep a can of wasp spray under the desk in case we are locked in and they shoot through. Maybe I can hit them in the eyes." —St. Cloud, Minn.
"I keep a can of wasp spray under the desk in case we are locked in and they shoot through. Maybe I can hit them in the eyes." —St. Cloud, Minn.Getty Images
Image::Image: Black chalkboard|Getty Images"I hate to say it, but I would like to see metal detectors at entrances and armed guards. I think it is a necessity in today’s scary world. Airports and government buildings have it. Are we not as important?" —Dallas, Ga.
"I hate to say it, but I would like to see metal detectors at entrances and armed guards. I think it is a necessity in today’s scary world. Airports and government buildings have it. Are we not as important?" —Dallas, Ga.Getty Images
Image::Image: Black chalkboard|Getty Images"How am I supposed to make 130 students feel safe enough to learn when these shootings have become a part of our daily life?" —Mechanicville, Md.
"How am I supposed to make 130 students feel safe enough to learn when these shootings have become a part of our daily life?" —Mechanicville, Md.Getty Images
Image::Image: Black chalkboard|Getty Images"Students don't feel safe, teachers don't feel safe. We need to arm our teachers with support and resources, not guns." —Palm Bay, Fla.
"Students don't feel safe, teachers don't feel safe. We need to arm our teachers with support and resources, not guns." —Palm Bay, Fla.Getty Images
Image::Image: Black chalkboard|Getty Images"We had a lockdown drill today and for the first time, I was actually nervous. Lights out, window covered, sheltering in place with my students. This should not be our new reality." —San Diego
"We had a lockdown drill today and for the first time, I was actually nervous. Lights out, window covered, sheltering in place with my students. This should not be our new reality." —San DiegoGetty Images
Image::Image: Black chalkboard|Getty Images"I am a new teacher, only in my 3rd year. The lockdown drills never get easier. The tears that I have to wipe from my 9-year-old students' faces when they tell me they don’t feel safe at school, never gets easier." —Freeport, Mich.
"I am a new teacher, only in my 3rd year. The lockdown drills never get easier. The tears that I have to wipe from my 9-year-old students' faces when they tell me they don’t feel safe at school, never gets easier." —Freeport, Mich.Getty Images
Image::Image: Black chalkboard|Getty Images"I feel untruthful when I have to tell students this is just a drill because I don’t know when they might actually need to silently hide in a corner of a dark, locked room." —Annandale, Va.
"I feel untruthful when I have to tell students this is just a drill because I don’t know when they might actually need to silently hide in a corner of a dark, locked room." —Annandale, Va.Getty Images
Image::Image: Black chalkboard|Getty Images"Since the shooting happened, whenever a loud bang happens in the hallway, be it students simply dropping books by accident or banging lockers, we jump." —Doylestown, Pa.
"Since the shooting happened, whenever a loud bang happens in the hallway, be it students simply dropping books by accident or banging lockers, we jump." —Doylestown, Pa.Getty Images

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