The Reader Center is one way we in the newsroom are trying to connect with you, by highlighting your perspectives and experiences and offering insight into how we work.

After the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., last week, The Times heard from many teenagers in the United States who have grown up in an era of school gun violence. We wondered how this climate also affects teachers, the people we trust to protect our children.

In comments on our coverage of the Florida massacre, teachers and other educators explained what it’s like to teach amid lockdown drills and fear of attacks.

Here is a selection of their comments, which have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

‘We Cannot Force Them to Get Counseling’

I have been a public high school teacher for 20-plus years. Schools know who these kids are, but there is very little we can do about them. We can recommend counseling, talk to the family, dole out suspensions and even expel them if it’s bad enough.

But we cannot force them to get counseling, we cannot force their families to admit to the degree of illness, and we cannot stop them from getting guns and coming to school to kill us. The only sane solution is limiting their access to weapons. — “MOMofTWOGIRLS” from New York

‘Our System Is Reactive, Not Proactive’

I wince at the mention of “autism.” I’m a developmental specialist, and work with kids who have sensory issues and spectrum disorders day in and day out.

Yes, brain and behavioral health are woefully underfunded and unaddressed. Yes, our entire society needs to be forced to shift to a trauma-informed perspective rather than a trauma-inducing orientation. But no, the problem here was not the youth, but his ability to purchase a gun. Our system is reactive, not proactive. — “Nnaiden” from Montana

‘The Shooter Always Has the Advantage’

I am a professor at a community college in Florida, two hours north of Fort Lauderdale. My eyes were welling with tears during my 8 a.m. class, as I felt overcome by my feelings of grief and helplessness over Parkland.

My classroom is on the ground floor, a step away from two entrances to the building, and has TWO doors. I am finding it increasingly difficult to keep my fear of being shot dead as I teach in the BACK of my mind. Many people, including legislators in Tallahassee, have suggested that arming myself (and the students on campus) is the answer. It is NOT.

No matter how many weapons I have on my person, and no matter how well trained I am to use them, the shooter always has the advantage: the element of surprise. I’ll be first one shot, and I’ll be dead before I ever fire a round. God help my students: While they scramble for their guns amid shock, adrenaline and terror, the shooter is firing away with an AR and clip after clip of ammo. — Connie from Florida

‘Can Our 5-Year-Olds Run Fast Enough?’

After Sandy Hook, when our nation’s politicians failed to advocate for and enforce stricter gun regulations, I felt despair and dread. I am a kindergarten teacher who now has to practice “shelter-in-place” drills with my young charges. Across the hall are three-year-olds whose teachers quietly sit with them in a corner of their room while listening on walkie-talkies for the “all clear.” We have a code that will be broadcast should a shooter enter our school, so we won’t scare the children.

But I can tell you, while we teachers are sitting during the drill with our students, praising their quiet patience, we are thinking about where we would take them, where we could hide them should a monster with an automatic weapon enter our school. Can our five-year-olds run fast enough? How many three-year-olds can my fellow teachers carry to escape danger?

Those who blame the mentally ill for these murders are neglecting the real cause of the mass casualties. A mentally ill intruder is scary. A mentally ill intruder with an automatic weapon is deadly. — Vicki Smith from Sandy, Utah

‘We All Suffer Each Massacre’

I was a young teacher when Columbine happened. Years later, I graded Advanced Placement exams with a teacher who had been there that day; he was the only faculty member still there at the 10-year mark. He asked us to ask him nothing. Ten years later it was still unspeakable.

My school now does A.L.I.C.E. training (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) twice a year in addition to standard lockdown drills three times a year. We had one already scheduled for the day after the Pulse massacre, and the administration decided to keep it in place knowing it would be raw. It was. I had students break down crying. One told the class that there has not been a day since Sandy Hook that she has not paused before leaving her car and thought, “Is this the day I die in school?”

We know the numerical chances, but that is not how the human heart and psyche work. Our school spaces have become so contaminated by the fear of death that no matter how statistically rare, each shooting feels as if it happens to us. On the day of Sandy Hook, I stood huddled with other teachers in our art room crying as the horror broke over us; each image more awful than the last. We all suffer each massacre. — “AhBrightWings” from Cleveland

‘Do Not Deflect the Blame Onto Us’

At this point, all of this sudden attention toward what SCHOOLS should be doing to keep their students safe is analogous to blaming a woman for being raped because she was wearing “revealing” clothing.

I teach CHILDREN in a SCHOOL that is supposed to be inviting, safe and dedicated to producing the next generation of engaged citizens.

I refuse to carry ANY weapons to my school. It goes against everything a SCHOOL stands for.

The root of the epidemic of school mass shootings lies not on the school side or the victims. Do not deflect the blame onto us. Do not believe for a single moment that the security Kabuki being bantered about will help.

It’s the GUNS. It’s always the GUNS. The GUNS are everywhere. Ultimately, we have decided at Sandy Hook that our right to own guns trumps my students’ rights to being alive. — Alan Foo from Philadelphia

‘I Have a Child of My Own Who Needs Me’

I have been a teacher for 18 years. When I started this career, it never occurred to me that one day I would have to seriously consider whether I would give my own life to protect my students. I have a child of my own who needs me. I’m not a police officer, firefighter, soldier or member of another profession for which these questions must come with the territory. — “M” from New York

‘Every Time We Conducted This Drill, My Stomach Hurt’

At my last school, teachers often talked about being nervous whenever they were in certain areas of the building that had little direct access to viable escape routes, such as remote hallways or stairwells. When we had lockdown drills, the kids would huddle on the floor in a far corner of the room, in the dark, while administrators would simulate breaching our doors to make sure they were secured properly. Every time we conducted this drill, my stomach hurt. Under such conditions, is it any wonder our educational system strains so hard to meet students’ needs? — “Greek Goddess” from Merritt Island, Fla.

Kreditvergleich 10000 euro