Marissa Schimmoeller teaches English at a high school in Ohio. She also happens to use a wheelchair.
As you may expect, Schimmoeller was on edge returning to work after the horrifying shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Florida. “As the first students walked in, I began to feel the anxiety pooling in my belly, ” she recollected from those first tense moments starting a new day.
But Schimmoeller was dreading one question specifically because she use a wheelchair: “Mrs. Schimmoeller, what will we do if a shooter comes in your room? ”
Inevitably, the question was asked.
“My stomach sank, ” Schimmoeller wrote in a Facebook post on Feb. 15. “I launched into my pre-planned speech about our plan of action.”
But then came the more difficult part of her answer, she noted — the part she’d especially been dreading.
“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, ” she assured them. “But, being in a wheelchair, I will not be able to protect you the style an able-bodied educator will.”
She continued: “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.”
That’s when her students brought her to tears.
“Slowly, softly, as the words I had said sunk in, another student created their hand, ” the teacher wrote in her post. “She said, ‘Mrs. Schimmoeller, we already “was talkin about a” it. If anything happens, we are going to carry you.'”
“I lost it, ” Schimmoeller concluded in her post, which has amassed more than 33,000 likes and nearly 19,000 shares as of publication.
“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.”
Schimmoeller’s big-hearted students are genuinely good. They’re unbelievably thoughtful. They care.
They’re also having to think about things no teen should: how to help their educator( and themselves) survive a mass shooting.
That’s not OK. That’s not normal.
We are better than this .
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