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Part two of our conversation with two Texas elementary school teachers about classroom safety in the wake of the deadly shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, along with advice from a veteran school resource officer.

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Dan: [00:00:04] In police stations across the country, officers start their shifts in the briefing room.

Dave: [00:00:09] It’s a place where law enforcement can speak openly and candidly about safety, training, policy, crime trends, and more.

Dan: [00:00:17] We think it’s time to invite you in.

Dave: [00:00:19] So, pull up a chair.

Dan and Dave: [00:00:21] Welcome to The Briefing Room.

[Briefing Room theme playing]

Dave: [00:00:35] Today on The Briefing Room is Part-2 of our discussion on classroom safety and training for active shooter situations. Once again, we’re joined by two teachers, both in public schools in Texas. Jennifer and Kenzie, welcome back.

Jennifer and Kenzie: [00:00:49] Thank you.

Kenzie: [00:00:50] We appreciate you for having us on.

Jennifer: [00:00:52] Most time nobody asks us, so this is nice.

Kenzie: [00:00:55] Exactly. Yeah. [giggles]

Yeardley: [00:00:57] So, I have a question. Do you feel like this Active Shooter Critical Incident Training is really, basically, a band aid that we’re not addressing the root of the issues? For instance, mental health. These school shooters are usually young people, have reached a breaking point for whatever reason, and they feel they have no resources. Perhaps, they don’t have any resources to deal with adversity. And now they’re taking it out on some group of people they feel has humiliated them, has wronged them in some way. I feel in all of these trainings, not that you shouldn’t have the training, you absolutely should, but the core issue isn’t actually being addressed.

Kenzie: [00:01:44] Yeah, for sure. Again, because I grew up, I went to high school while all of this was so prevalent. We had kids that everybody looked at sideways and was like, “Well, someone’s going to shoot up to school. It’s going to be that kid.” Because it almost feels like a cookie cutter of, like they’re always young white males. That’s a pandemic in and of itself right there. What is going on with this demographic that we are not taking the time to understand why this keeps happening? It blows my mind, because– You’ll hear politicians say, “Well, it’s not a gun problem. It’s a mental health problem.” But we’re not addressing the mental health problem. I agree with you. I agree with you. I think that there are way, way too many guns. I think there’s too much access to them too easily, but that is a different issue. Why aren’t we talking about this? Because they go against the, “Well, it’s a gun issue. No, it’s a mental health issue.” And then the conversation stops. Where is the mental health funding?

Yeardley: [00:02:48] Where are those resources?

Kenzie: [00:02:49] Yeah, where’s the resources for that? It’s frustrating when, to your point, you’re putting quite literally a band aid on a bullet hole here. It seems like everybody wants to talk in circles around each other and nobody wants to, actually, try to fix it. For us, I don’t know about you, I didn’t sign on to be a first responder. I’m not getting paid enough to be a first responder. I didn’t agree to this. Not that you all get paid enough either, but it’s very frustrating and especially, for me, it being my second year, I shouldn’t already feel like this. I have wanted to do this job since I was in kindergarten. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to be. I knew what I wanted to do with my life. And two years in and it’s like, “Am I going to die or am I going to burn out from all of this and be done in three years?” It feels like everything is always just caving in on us.

Jennifer: [00:03:47] I always feel like, “Not even am I going to die, but am I going to respond improperly and have to tell somebody else their child is dead?”

Dave: [00:03:55] Well, along those lines, have you guys had a moment where you went, “Okay, honestly, if this happens, what would I do? How does this go down in my mind”?

Jennifer: [00:04:07] Yeah. Every time I’m in my classroom, every time. If they come in this door, we might have time to get out this way. If I hear it in the other building, could I get out

this back door? If they’re already in the hall, is there enough space for everybody

to hide in the bathroom?

Kenzie: [00:04:22] I’ve got two exit plans for my classroom. I have an exit plan for each special that they go to. We, as a grade level, have practiced our exit plan for lunch, should the kids be at lunch or at recess? It’s just always in the back of your mind.

[Briefing Room theme playing]

Dan: [00:04:41] Do you guys want to have an SRO at every school?

Jennifer: [00:04:44] I have mixed feelings about that. I don’t hate the idea, but I’ve heard just people making points about, “Well, they’re humans and they’re going to see certain things and not see certain things.” It can give some of the kids that get in trouble all the time, maybe a negative interaction with the police. But I think probably the good would outweigh, especially if it was a police officer that was dedicated to and trained to dealing with elementary age school children that it could be really beneficial.

Dave: [00:05:18] You got to have the right person.

Kenzie: [00:05:20] The SRO that we have, we share him with the closest middle school to us, and he’s fantastic. He will come and he’ll sit at the cafeteria tables with the kids while they eat lunch and just talk to him. And he walks around handing out the police badge stickers, the junior police officer. When we discussed authority figures in social studies, I emailed with him, and he came and did a presentation for our kids. He’s fantastic with our kids.

[00:05:45] To Jennifer’s point, it has to be the right personality, but I’ve seen the way that our kids react to him and I know that when he’s there, the teachers all feel safer. Whether we’re conscious of that or not, there’s somebody there that knows what they’re doing should something bad happen. Even if it’s as simple as like, one time we were out at recess and there was like a big black bag on the outside of the fence, and we were like, “What is that?” We were able to just call the office and he came down and checked it out and it was fine. It was just somebody’s backpack that they had left, but we couldn’t tell what it was.

[00:06:21] So, even for stuff like that, that might not seem like a big deal. I knew that he was on campus that day and that we could have him come check it out. So, I think in that way, I would appreciate the safety net of having that person already there and not having to worry about, “Well, it’s not his day at our school,” and it’s going to take him eight minutes to drive here.

Jennifer: [00:06:43] That’s an interesting point that Kenzie is making that I can honestly tell you that in all of my 26 years, four school districts, every single level that I’ve taught, I have never been in a school with a dedicated SRO.

Yeardley: [00:06:57] Wow.

Dan: [00:06:58] That’s surprising.

[Briefing Room theme playing]

Dan: [00:07:04] On Small Town Dicks, we recently had a former school resource officer, Detective Aaron, on the podcast.

Yeardley: [00:07:10] That’s right. He was a guest in Season 11, and he did an episode called Split Second.

Dave: [00:07:16] When we recorded that episode, we actually asked him about his time as an SRO, but that audio didn’t fit into the story he was telling. Let’s play that piece now. I think it’s interesting to hear some similarities in our teachers’ experience.

Aaron: [00:07:35] I always say that, “All SROs could be cops, but not all cops can be SROs.” You don’t want your SRO to be somebody that’s there as a punishment, because you want someone that can build relationships, that’s so important. That’s such an important part of the job, because once I build those relationships with my principals, superintendents, your assistant superintendents, they’ll come to you if you have those relationships. That’s why it’s so important to be approachable.

Dave: [00:08:03] We get a lot of questions like, “If I’m in an active shooter, active killer situation? What should I do?” I want this to come from somebody who’s actually an instructed trainer who’s dealt with this, who’s been on school campuses now for– I know your career, Aaron. Multiple shootings on a school campus. You bring much more credibility to the discussion than I do on this thing.

Aaron: [00:08:33] Well, the one thing that I would tell my own children and other children is to evacuate themselves from the situation. If you’re not there, you can’t be hurt. So many times, we get people that will stay in a classroom when they could have left and then they’re just basically sitting ducks. That’s one of the biggest things is to leave, if you can. If you can, absolutely leave the situation.

Yeardley: [00:09:02] What if you don’t have a way to evacuate? What’s the advice for people who are stuck in that room?

Dan: [00:09:08] Well, I know you barricade, right?

Aaron: [00:09:10] Right. Absolutely. We teach, if you can’t get out, then you better damn well make sure that no one else can get in. We go through a lot of scenarios. We’ve talked to teachers about prep in their classrooms, “What could you do to secure this room?” We’ve talked about placing a piece of furniture somewhere that could be useful, but then when the time is right, you can move it and completely block a door and make it secure, so no one’s getting in that room.

Yeardley: [00:09:38] I see. So, like an extra piece of furniture, something heavy that you could then move to serve as a barricade.

Aaron: [00:09:44] Absolutely. We’ve talked about putting locks on doors from the inside, a way that you can secure it, so no one is getting that room. We also stress these doors are not stopping rifle rounds, they’re not stopping pistol rounds. They’re going to go right through there. So, you still need to secure that door. You don’t want to be right in front of the door. You want to be off to the side somewhere to still seek additional protection. And then let’s say either they get in the classroom and it’s a surprise.

Yeardley: [00:10:13] Who gets in the classroom?

Aaron: [00:10:15] The killer.

Yeardley: [00:10:15] Okay.

Aaron: [00:10:16] Let’s say they get in the classroom or the room that you’re in, and either they defeated your lockdown measures or they surprised you and you weren’t able to conduct those lockdown measures, that’s when you fight back. Seconds matter, when it comes to active killers. Seconds matter.

Dave: [00:10:34] I would agree with that. Law enforcement, in my experience, has been very clear for well over a decade. One officer is sufficient to go address an active shooter. Every minute that you allow this suspect to have free reign of a property or a premise is more victims.

Aaron: [00:10:55] I’ve been in law enforcement long enough to remember. We initially were like, “Okay, we’re going to have four people. We’re going to go in as a pot of four,” is what we called it. Well, then we realized, that’s not happening quick enough. Now it’s like, “No, if it’s just you, then you’re going by yourself. If you can wait a second or two, absolutely.” Because you’re going to be more proficient with two officers. But if you don’t have that option, then you’re going in as a solo officer and you’re going to have to stop that threat. Or, at least, part of the problem is not even stopping the threat, engaging the threat because once you engage the threat, they’re not accustomed to that level of violence. So, they’ll have a predetermined exit strategy, which often includes suicide. So, if you’re engaging the threat and they’re like, “Okay, it’s here.” Now they’re switching their attention to you and not to the students.

[00:11:49] We’re here to protect the students and the citizenry. That’s why it’s so important to follow our training and to do exactly what you’re talking about, to get in there and engage the threat, so we can keep civilian casualties at a minimum.

Dave: [00:12:06] We have body armor, we have tourniquets, we have radios, we have guns, we have all kinds of things to address that situation. So, with our department and doing active shooter training, one police officer can grab suspects attention and pull it away from kids who are armed with backpacks and books. So, go get that suspect’s attention on someone with body armor and a rifle. Get there now.

Aaron: [00:12:33] Absolutely.

Dave: [00:12:35] On the school administrative side, when a district sets up training on this topic, wherever they are, they should contact law enforcement and bring them in from the beginning. Talk to the people that deal with this every day.

Aaron: [00:12:48] Right. It’s funny, because people would come up with all these ideas, but no one would include the SRO in this. That’s why it’s so important for an SRO to build those relationships, because if you’re not building those relationships, no one’s going to come and talk to you. When you’re talking about security at a high school, we should be the expert on that. I want them to come and talk to me.

[Briefing Room theme playing]

Dave: [00:13:18] That was Detective Aaron in a little outtake from Small Town Dicks. It sounds like the training Kenzie’s school implemented is similar to what Aaron teaches, but Kenzie’s school is ahead of the game compared to where Jennifer’s school is.

Dan: [00:13:36] Kenzie, in your training, did they talk about at all like after care? If there’s an active shooter and you survive, did they provide any training as far as first aid, what equipment to buy? Like in law enforcement, every cop in the United States should at least have a tourniquet. That’s just bare minimum. You should have a tourniquet. And I’m wondering if they provide you with those things to have in your classroom.

Kenzie: [00:13:59] No. We get booboo boxes from the nurse at the beginning of the year that has band aids and the little things to hold a lost tooth, and little bit of gauze, and some sanitizer wipes, and that’s it. The training that we did, it really stopped at, “Okay, the cops are now here. So, now we’re going to stop.” I would love training like that. It always has shocked me that we don’t have to be CPR certified.

[00:14:29] In my own time, I’m working towards getting CPR certified, we had a kindergartener last year that choked on his snack and the teacher didn’t know what she was doing, but she did the Heimlich and it was fine. But that kind of rattled me a little bit, because it was right across the hall for me and I was like, “Okay. I don’t know that I would know what to do in that situation.” So, a lot of that, I think, falls on our shoulders to do it ourselves. But I wish that we did have training. I know how to use an EpiPen, but that’s about as far as my medical training goes from the school.

Dan: [00:15:00] Do you think that there’s a disconnect between these administrators now and what you guys need on the front lines? Just some basic things that maybe administrators, and to some degree, now it’s politicians are running school boards and they don’t want to allocate funds to things that what you, Kenzie, Jennifer, like you’re the boots on the ground and they’re not listening to you what you guys really need.

Dave: [00:15:26] Absolutely. I see how these policies are driven like any other policies in an organization by people at the top who never reached out and said, “Hey, Jennifer, Kenzie, you grab your other teacher friends and meet us in the cafeteria. We’re going to have a 30-minute brainstorming session on what needs to happen around here.” I would bet that parents in your districts are like, “This training needs to be at the top of the list. Why do our teachers not have the resources and the money to make their classroom secure and safe for our students?” I’m surprised and I know how the government works.

[laughter]

Kenzie: [00:16:06] Yeah. It really comes down to the school board. We had a very heated election in my district this past fall. There were three open spots on the school board. Three were up for re-election and then three were unopposed. One of them had never had a child go through our school system. They had only ever done private school. The other one spent their entire campaign going on the whole inappropriate books in our library and just about as politically charged as you can get. Unfortunately, both of them won, because they preyed on fear of the parents. The one with the library books was actually actively involved in a lawsuit against our district.

[00:16:48] So, as teachers, we sit here and we can’t do anything on the clock to influence people to vote, but we are welcome to post on our own social media as we’re allowed to do anything on our own personal time. And I just for months, I saw teachers blasting, “Please do not vote for this. This is not true.” Our superintendent sent out numerous emails. We have a wonderful superintendent. He sent out emails about these people in the most neutral way possible that he could just “please educate yourself before you vote,” so on and so forth. To see those kinds of people get elected to the board of people that make all of our decisions, that then in a way, it feels like we have no say, because we can go to the forums, and we can sit up there, and we can say what we want to say, but at the end of the day, they’re the ones voting.

[00:17:43] It’s incredibly frustrating for me. Being in Texas, I expect what I expect from our state politicians. But when it’s happening in your backyard and when it’s happening to you, and then in turn influences every decision you make and everything that happens to you, it leaves you feeling very hopeless. I left that situation feeling very upset, because I love my district, and I love my superintendent, and I feel very fortunate to have the training that I have, and all of that stuff. I just am fearful of what’s going to happen when they start voting on new stuff. Is this really how the parents in our community feel? Because it’s absurd to an extent.

[The Briefing Room theme playing]

Dan: [00:18:44] School shootings are obviously the extreme when it comes to school safety. So, we wanted to ask the teachers. People were actually in the classroom every day with these students. What are the things they see and ways to intervene in children’s lives long before it turns to violence?

Kenzie: [00:19:02] As a teenager, your frontal lobe is not developed. You don’t know what you’re doing. And so, kids are mean and impulsive. I think, at least, what I’m seeing on the elementary level, kids don’t get consequences now the way that they used to. When I was in elementary school, kids would get suspended and kids would have ISS and that kind of thing.

Yeardley: [00:19:27] What’s ISS?

Kenzie: [00:19:28] In School Suspension. So, you can either get out of school suspension or in school. Out of school is usually for a more serious infraction and it’s where you have to stay home. You’re not allowed to come in the building for three or four days. In school is basically where they would just keep you in the office and you do all of your work in the office instead of being in your own classroom. But the push now is, again, from up top that these are not people that are in the classroom. Taking a kid out of the classroom takes away their classroom instruction. So, we should really just try to keep the kids in the classroom as much as possible.

Jennifer: [00:20:00] Right. And the first response to any child’s infraction is to the teacher, “What have you done to try to fix this already?” It’s never like, “What is the child’s responsibility? Well, how have you tried to solve this problem?”

Kenzie: [00:20:11] I’m sure that just continues to get worse. The older the kids get, the more physical that they get. I know COVID behaviors have just infiltrated everybody’s classroom and we’re still seeing fallout from the pandemic. For our kids age group, they’ve never gone to school outside of COVID. They were in kindergarten last year, and a lot of them didn’t go to preschool because of COVID. So, I’ve got a handful of kids in my class, and I noticed this last year too. Whatever it is, their first instinct is to hit. If somebody takes a pencil from them, they smack them. If somebody makes a mean face at them, they kick them. Their first instinct is physical for some reason.

Dave: [00:20:54] That was going to be my question. Have you noticed a marked difference between behavior issues and socialization of children, two, three years ago versus 2022?

Jennifer: [00:21:07] Yeah, I see it mainly with the social emotional development. They simply don’t know how to work in a group or with other people or they’re very young emotionally. They’re lacking quite a bit of social skills.

Dave: [00:21:22] The formative years where you learn these skills, I suppose you can recover that, but you’re not going to thrive like a child who had, what we call a normal school upbringing, that a lot of their development seems to have been stunted and it comes down on the behavior side.

Kenzie: [00:21:40] Absolutely.

Dave: [00:21:41] And you guys are seeing that anecdotally in your classrooms?

Kenzie: [00:21:44] Yeah. I know at my school, I hear the third and fourth grade teachers say that their kids read on a first grade level. It’s not just academics. They are reading on a first-grade level and they’re acting like they’re in first grade. I have friends that teach high school that say, “What is going on with these kids? They have no respect, they have no sense of respecting authority.” They just simply refuse to do their work. There’s no reason for it. It’s not even that they’re disruptive. They’re just, “I don’t want to do it, so I’m not going to do it.” So, with all of our existing hats, now we’re adding one more on top of it. I say every day, I’m like, “I feel like I’m running out of time to teach, because I’m just putting out fires the whole time.”

Dave: [00:22:23] I used to go on ride alongs with Dan. And I recall going to some of these family disputes, where the child runs the household, and I’m sure as teachers, you guys see this, where a child thinks they run the classroom, and then you meet the parents and you go, “I see how life is at home, probably-“

Jennifer: [00:22:40] Absolutely.

Dave: [00:22:41] -that this child hasn’t learned anything about discipline, or respect, or manners, and that’s as we’ve always said in law enforcement. We can predict behavior issues in children based on the calibre of humans that are bringing these kids into the world and parenting them. Actually, parenting them.

Kenzie: [00:23:00] Right or not. Lack thereof.

Dave: [00:23:02] Yeah. I remember being on a call with Dan, and he turned to a parent and said, “You want me in five minutes to solve what’s taken you 15 years to screw up? You have not taught your child to be a valuable human, who contributes to your family and to their community. Your child is disruptive, gets kicked out of school, and you want me to come here and fix your problem in a few minutes.” I imagine you guys are running into that to a much larger degree now.

Jennifer: [00:23:34] Absolutely. Last year was my first year. And so, I tried to do my best to just get through it, but this year I really enjoy my class. They get along a lot better. Last year, nobody got along with anybody, but I do have three or four this year that just you come home and you want to pull your hair out.

Dave: [00:23:51] So, do we have to worry about four to seven years from now, what adversity in this child’s life looks like? When they’ve been able to find Dad’s gun that’s hidden in the closet, and they have a bad day, and they go, “You know what? Tomorrow is my time to get some revenge.” We haven’t taught kids how to deal with adversity or failure.

Kenzie: [00:24:10] When I was teaching many, many years ago in a different district, there was a particular young man that was well known through Pre-K kindergarten, first grade for doing very terrible things, social, emotional type things, just extravagant behaviors. Every single person that had anything to deal with him said, “That one’s going to prison someday.” We knew it wasn’t even like a guess. And I’m still in the same area. Before his 18th birthday, he was arrested for capital murder.

Yeardley: [00:24:43] Oh, my God.

Kenzie: [00:24:43] Nobody was surprised.

Jennifer: [00:24:45] For me, I worry that when I have these students who hurt another, not just, “Oh, he bopped them on the head.” I have a student who genuinely hurt another kid and drew blood, because he was angry at him. You can’t say, “Oh, he’s six, he didn’t know.” He was angry and he got physical. I put in a conduct referral, which is supposed to send him to the office, and they pull him, and he gets to sit in the office on his iPad all day. And then they call mom and dad, and mom and dad are like, “Okay, we’ll take care of it.”

Kenzie: [00:25:21] Or, say, “He would never do that. He doesn’t behave like that at home.”

Jennifer: [00:25:24] “He would never, but he did. And there’s proof, but he would never.” So, I think for me, there’s a fear in me that we are going to see these kids that have these tendencies that if we jumped in now and stopped them, then that could be the end of it, but we don’t dole out adequate consequences to match the action. I get told this all the time by my admin, “Well, there’s six.” “I don’t care that they’re six. They’re developing human beings. If you don’t start it now, then to your point about the 15-year-old, 15 years later, what’s going to happen?”

[00:26:02] I just worry that we’re going to see them continue to escape by, parents aren’t giving them the discipline they need, the school’s not giving them the discipline they need, and then they’re going to get into a situation, where something happens and they either go to jail or somebody else gets very seriously hurt or killed. It will have been, because nobody advocated for that kid to get in trouble.

Dave: [00:26:27] I’m guessing teachers, just like police officers have been saying, “We don’t have a crime problem. We have a parenting problem.”

Kenzie: [00:26:32] Absolutely.

Dave: [00:26:33] We have adults now who never were parented as kids, and this is what it looks like when they turn 18 or when they turn 15, and now they’re capable of pushing dad around the house, and mom has no say in the house anymore, and they just start running their own life, and they end up in jail. We’ve been saying it for years. I’m sure, Jennifer, and your [chuckles] 20 plus years. Like you said, that kid’s going to end up in prison one day.

Jennifer: [00:27:03] My friends and I joke that it’s a result of the iPad generation.

Kenzie: [00:27:07] We get kids that don’t know how to talk to each other. We get kids that don’t know how to speak to adults. I have one or two kids in my class all day long, “Can we use the iPads? Can we get the iPads? When do we get to have the iPads?” I’m like, “Sweetie, we already did our 20 minutes of technology this morning. We’re not getting them again.” And they get angry. Then you know you’re using iPads at school or the Chromebooks or whatever it is, they go home, they get handed the iPad. So, I think that social media and technology and all these things.

[00:27:38] My kids know things at six and seven that I didn’t know until middle school or high school. I have kids constantly flipping each other off. These are not kids that you would say, “Oh, they come from the wrong side of the tracks.” These are kids that shouldn’t know that and whose parents, when you tell them, they’re appalled that they know it, and it’s because they’ve got unsupervised internet time. They go home, they get their tablet, and they get on YouTube, and think of all the things they’re going to see on YouTube. So, it’s very much is a parenting problem, but I think the issue that at least I see with mine is it’s more of the ignorance of the parents and what they are not doing, which is then just creating these monsters.

Yeardley: [00:28:21] I was listening to a podcast the other day, one of the Bren√© Brown– I think it was Unlocking Us, and she’s a social worker and a researcher of shame and vulnerability. She was talking about a study that was done with young people where they talked about boundaries. They used to ask this wide swath of young people, “What sort of boundaries did you get in place?” There was almost this competition of, “Oh, my God, my parents wouldn’t let me do this, and I couldn’t do that, and I had to be home by then.” Then the kids who had no boundaries, who had no supervision like that just went into a total shame spiral, because the net of that conversation was, “Nobody cared enough about me to actually ask me what I was doing or to supervise me.”

[00:29:12] So, this idea that you are somehow imposing your will and you run the house, I think, as the parents, and that that is detrimental to your children, I think is proving to be the complete opposite. As you grow up, you want something to push against. I want it in my relationships as an adult. I just feel like there’s such value in that compromise. You don’t live in a vacuum.

Jennifer: [00:29:40] Yeah. In small children like the age that we’re dealing with, they crave those boundaries. They crave the structure. They want to know, how do you want me to do this? They don’t want you to just say, “Line up.” They want to know, how do I line up? Who do I line up with? What does my body look like when I’m lining up? What am I thinking about? Where do I look? What is everybody else doing? How do I fit in? They really want to know, what do I really supposed to do here?

Yeardley: [00:30:05] They crave it.

Jennifer: [00:30:06] Yeah, they do.

Kenzie: [00:30:07] The best way to redirect them is to go, “Oh, I love how Jennifer is standing. She’s got her hand up.” Because then they go, “Oh, I want that price. I want to be the one that she points out and says, ‘I want to be like that.”’ I have a student who, for the life of him, cannot sit still when we’re on the carpet doing lessons. I quite literally took tape and taped a square on the floor to give him a physical boundary. And it worked. It’s like he just needed a visual of his boundary, of his guideline. And that works for him. So, if you can imagine a kid like that at school who needs a tape square to sit correctly, going home and being allowed to do whatever he wants, of course, that’s what happens.

Dan: [00:30:49] I’ve said on this podcast before. I’m not a parent. I don’t have kids. I’m not an expert in parenting. I am an expert in bad parenting. And I’ve seen it so many times and I’m sure you have too. But it was part of my word track when I would counsel parents, I would say, “If you’re a parent, it’s not your job to be their best friend. Your job is to be their parent. Be their friend when they get out of college. But up until they’re 18, 19, 20 years old, those kids are looking at you like they don’t want you to be their best friend. They want you to be their dad or their mother.” So, do that.

Kenzie: [00:31:22] Absolutely.

[The Briefing Room theme playing]

Yeardley: [00:31:37] I want to know from both of you, why you wanted to become a teacher? Jennifer, you first.

Jennifer: [00:31:42] For me, my mom was a teacher and I had a degree that didn’t really lend itself to anything else. I got a degree in Spanish literature and I love teaching language. So, I’ve always been a dual language teacher or a Spanish teacher at the high school level. I like teaching English to Spanish speakers and I like teaching Spanish to English speakers. So, I’ve always gotten a lot of enjoyment out of that.

Yeardley: [00:32:02] Fabulous. Kenzie?

Kenzie: [00:32:05] My first-grade teacher was the best teacher I’ve ever had. Ever since then, I had always wanted to be a teacher. My high school offered a– it’s called Ready, Set, Teach. It’s a program where you get to go into an elementary school in your district and work for– It was a double block class, so two class periods. After doing that, it was like, “Yeah, okay, I’m decent at this. This is what I want to do.” So, I was able to test that out before I went to college. It just solidified that for me. I love working with children, and I love the primary grades. You’ll hear every teacher talk about this, but those light bulb moments, like seeing the kid get it for the first time, and especially with our age group, they are so young and they’re learning so much.

[00:32:50] As frustrating as it can be sometimes to wear all of the hats that wear, it’s a very unique experience and I feel like it teaches me a lot about myself and it teaches me a lot about the world around me, because kids see things so differently than we do. So, regardless of everything going on around us, the kids are why we do it.

Jennifer: [00:33:11] And as teachers, thank you for actually listening to us.

Kenzie: [00:33:14] Yeah.

[laughter]

Jennifer: [00:33:14] Normally, not really anybody’s interested in hearing us, we don’t feel like we have much of a voice. So, it’s very nice to actually be asked.

Dan: [00:33:23] Oh, we’re honored that you joined us. We really are.

Yeardley: [00:33:26] We are.

Dave: [00:33:26] Jennifer, Kenzie, really appreciate your time.

Kenzie: [00:33:29] Thank you.

Jennifer: [00:33:30] You are very welcome. We appreciated the opportunity.

Dan: [00:33:33] Thank you for doing what you do. It’s so important and we need more like you.

Yeardley: [00:33:37] We sure do. Thank you.

[The Briefing Room theme playing]

Yeardley: [00:33:49] I want to ask, what can be done here? Obviously, we won’t have all the answers and we’ll leave it to our audience to give us feedback too. But for me, it leaves me feeling like this is chaos. There’s so little coordination on the macro level to help these teachers do what they need to do to keep their environments safe.

Dave: [00:34:15] There are things that we can do right away that makes our schools safer. It’s little things like security type things, doorstops, putting a cover over the windows, those are immediate things. Bigger for me is let’s really start hitting the training piece and really wrapping teachers and administrators in schools in with law enforcement and medical personnel. It’s really what that active shooter situation is going to look like, so let’s train for it.

Yeardley: [00:34:48] While I think it’s productive for teachers to be creative about how to keep their classes safe, I don’t think it should be up to the teachers.

Dave: [00:34:59] Teachers shouldn’t have to pay for this stuff. It should be provided to them.

Dan: [00:35:02] These episodes are about training. We can talk about training and funding and the construction of these schools, but the solutions to all these issues and these problems that we’re identifying, it should not fall on the teachers and the students. That’s the bottom line.

Yeardley: [00:35:20] Yeah.

Dan: [00:35:22] I think you want touch on things like the value of human life and are we teaching our kids that we should be valuing human life?

Yeardley: [00:35:31] Each other respect and curiosity and kindness.

Dave: [00:35:35] For our listeners, we have a question for you. These two episodes were primarily focused on training that’s available to both law enforcement, first responders, teachers and students. But the conversation is much bigger. Do you want to hear more about this topic? If our listeners have questions or comments or want us to cover a certain aspect of this topic or any others, please send us your suggestions. We get Briefing Room and Patreon material from our listeners all the time.

[00:36:06] Thanks to our guests, Kenzie, Jennifer, and Aaron. In next week’s Briefing, our episode will be covering the case law, Terry vs. Ohio.

Yeardley: [00:36:16] It’s a great episode.

Dave: [00:36:18] I think it goes a long way towards letting listeners understand why cops are able to do what they do in certain situations.

Yeardley: [00:36:28] If you’re thinking just as a layperson like me like you don’t want to lessen on case law, this episode about Terry vs. Ohio is nothing like that and it really goes to the heart of why Dan and Dave wanted to start The Briefing Room in the first place. So, don’t miss it.

[00:36:47] The Briefing Room is produced by Gary Scott and me, Yeardley Smith, and coproduced by Detectives Dan and Dave. This episode was edited by Soren Begin, Logan Heftel, Christina Bracamontes, Gary Scott, and me. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor and the Real Nick Smitty. Our social media is run by the one and only Monika Scott. Our researcher is Delaney Britt Brewer. Our music is composed by Logan Heftel and our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell. If you like what you hear and want to stay up to date with the podcast, please visit us on our website at smalltowndicks.com/thebriefingroom. Thank you to SpeechDocs for providing transcripts, and thank you to you, the best fans in the pod universe for listening.

[00:37:40] Honestly, nobody’s better than you.

[Transcript provided by SpeechDocs Podcast Transcription]