Clustered on a path behind Waite, Rebecca, Marisol, and Rebecca’s younger sister, Adalyn Hovey — a fifth-grader at Garfield Elementary School — recited instructions given by their teachers: If the shooter is in the hallway, stack chairs to block the door. Throw furniture and supplies to distract him — and nearly every documented school shooter is a “him” — if he breaks through the makeshift barriers.
The chances of a gunman entering their classroom may be minuscule, but, for these girls, the reality of the possibility has registered, and their school’s message has sunk in: be prepared for the worst.
Security officials with Toledo Public Schools encourage students to use “any items they have available” if they have no choice but to confront an intruder, security chief Mrs. Ruiz-Krause said — “but that’s an absolute last option.”
Taught to view school supplies as tools for self-defense, the girls weighed the potential of classroom items to inflict harm. Books and pencils — even chairs — probably wouldn’t seriously injure an armed intruder, they acknowledged, but at least the students would have the element of surprise on their side. Shooters don’t expect resistance.
“Most of the time, people shoot at schools because kids are easy targets,” Adalyn, 11, said.
Marisol added, “People who won’t fight back.”
God Save the Republic.