LITTLE ROCK, Ark – Tuesday’s school shooting in Uvalde, TX is sparking conversations among teachers in Arkansas and their roles in the classroom.
Many teachers say in 2022, they’re being asked to do more than what they signed up for.
Mizza Brizendine started teaching in 1999. She says back then, the job was black and white.
“We never thought about anyone busting in the school with a gun or if the fire alarm went off, you weren’t worried,” said Brizendine. “Now every time there’s an alarm, it’s surreal.”
Tuesday, two teachers in Uvalde, TX were put into a situation that so many others say they have feared for years.
“I didn’t want to be a human shield,” said Brizendine.
This week our crews spoke to three former educators, and they each shared their concerns about the role teachers now play.
“I think there’s always just this fear of will I respond the right way? Will I know what to do? Will I do the right thing?” said former teacher Lindsey Warden.
Mary Katherine Nichols taught for a few years out of college. She says she had similar fears.
“What if something happens when my kid goes down the hallway to the restroom, or go to the office, or do something else that was asked of them?,” said Nichols.
Brizendine says she also had the same concerns.
“If I have a classroom of 25, who am I going to shield if the door is busted open?” said Brizendine.
Brizendine left her job as a substitute teacher after 19 years in 2018. She says after the shooting Parkland, FL it became too much.
“I just decided, that’s it, I’m out,” said Brizendine.
Toward the end of her career, Brizendine says the possibility of an active shooter was always top of mind.
“Every day, every classroom, every school,” said Brizendine.
She says it’s the same for most teachers who now in addition to teaching, have other responsibilities.
“I am not trained to be a police officer, that was never my goal in life,” said Brizendine.
Brizendine says things need to change so teachers can go back to what they’re trained to do.
“I love children and educate them,” said Brizendine. “That’s my role and that should be my only role.”