Future teachers stress importance of protecting students

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Educators are tasked with keeping children safe while helping them prepare for the future.

But some Mid-South professors believe there's no easy way to train teachers on how to protect their students.

Wednesday's deadly school shooting in Florida is weighing heavily on teachers and students who aspire to have their own classrooms one day.

"Why [attack] a classroom full of students trying to learn?" senior Ashley Doyle said.

It's a question one group of aspiring teachers at Rhodes College can't get out of their minds.

"It is scary to me that I could one day be in a position where these children would be in my classroom and it would be up to me to defend them," junior Jeanne Wilkinson said.

Rhodes College Urban Education Professor Zachary Casey said it's a hard but necessary discussion he's had with his students.

"I don't think any of us are imagining--our future life working with youth in a classroom--what we'd do in the event of an active shooter," Casey said.

But the reality is, school shootings like in Parkland, FL are becoming all too common.

Casey said it's important for educators to be trained in school lockdown drills, as well as developmental psychology and trauma.

"I think we need to be thinking more about how we recognize those signs and symptoms of the folks who are likely to do this," Casey said.

Students with hopes of one day having their own classrooms said they want to do all they can to not only teach but protect.

"I aspire to be the kind of teacher that kids are comfortable talking to and reaching out to and having a classroom environment that is inclusive," Doyle said.

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