Ozarks Tonight: Students, Teacher Talk School Safety

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On Ozarks Tonight, local students and a teacher talk about school safety and bullying in the wake of the Florida massacre 

We’re joined tonight by three of our good friends from Bolivar Middle School just up the road on 13.

Teacher Shantra Tucker, Avery McClure student, and Noe Moreno. 

What was your reaction to the tragedy in Florida, and how much has this impacted what you do on a daily basis in Bolivar. 

SHANTRA
Unfortunately, it’s a culture that our kids are used to. They see it quite frequently and this is kind of life as they know it now. How it’s impacted as a school? There’s really no difference in what we do. We come to school every day. We try to make relationships with kids so that if there is something going on in their life, they can come to us. 

We really try to make a personal connection with them so that there isn’t the issue of not having somewhere to go if they need help. 

BRIAN
Are you worried about safety? Are you worried about what your friends might be doing?” 

NOE
Seeing how it can happen anywhere at any place any time, you can go to school and think that you’re fine. Like just a few moments can change and a matter of seconds.

BRIAN
Are you walking around all day thinking about that or are you worried about your algebra test? Hopefully algebra, ideally it’s algebra, but it’s not always in a perfect world, unfortunately. So how do you deal with this Avery on a daily basis?

AVERY
There are definitely times where I’m like a little leery especially whenever something like what happened in Florida happens, and you come to school like the day after and you’re like that could happen to me at any second. But then most the time I am very trusting of the people around me and most the time you just put it to the back your mind and try to be a kid. 

If it does happen there’s really nothing you can do it.

BRIAN
Now full disclosure, I was down with you all earlier today, and we were talking about a lot of topics and one of the things that came up was the question of bullying, and whether or not there’s a connection between kids who feel bullied in school and those who act like the shooter allegedly did in Florida last week. Do you see bullying going on a lot in school, and, if you do, do you try to stay away from that or keep kids from bullying other kids? 

AVERY
I know it’s a thing that does happen to people but I, personally, I hardly ever witness it. I’ve never seen kids like being rude but I’ve never seen actual bullying 

NOE
Like Avery, I haven’t seen anything like what would be considered bullying bullying. It’s just like people being rude every now and then. 

BRIAN
So as an educational professional, Shantra, what do you talk about in these faculty meetings when these things come up? It must be harrowing to figure out what the next step might be as an educational professional. 

SHANTRA
Really, I think it’s just one day at a time. You go in and you’re there for the kids every second of the day. You have to be on your game. And our focus is not “on oh my goodness something might happen,” our focus is on these kids and making their lives better, so it’s kind of putting it on the backburner a little bit; it’s being trusting of the people that you’re around knowing that you have the relationships with the kids and you can see changes in them. 

Of course not everything can be caught. But, if you have that relationship then I think you have a better chance of understanding what they’re going through and possibly helping them. 

BRIAN
School safety is on the political agenda. Do you have any thoughts off the top of your head about what might make schools safer And they’re already pretty safe. but safer. 

AVERY
I think just the concept of taking it more seriously. Like I’m not sure of actual procedures but just I know there’s a lot of people that during like safety drills like intruder drills or something, they don’t take it very seriously. You’re just kind of like giggling in the corner and I think it needs to be something that like we actually take seriously.

BRIAN
So, intruder drills. Help me out here. I graduated high school in 1995, which is ancient times. Going back even further than that they had the duck and cover drills at the height of the Cold War. I never experienced the duck and cover or the intruder drill. What is the intruder drill for those who’ve never experienced it? 

AVERY
The intruder drill, it seems pretty silly when you’re just thinking about it actually, but you go into a corner of the classroom and you like lock the doors and everything, and you like push as many tables, and in a real event that’s probably not like how people would react you wouldn’t want to sit in a corner with the potential of someone getting into the classroom. So I think intruder drills are very different than how people would react in an actual situation. 

BRIAN
I think we spoke earlier today that this is one of the many issues that your generation is going to have to figure out a way forward on, and it’s challenging, but I think both of you exemplify this generation and I think you’re both up to the challenge. And KOLR10 News will continue after this.

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