Faith Under Fire: The Antoinette Tuff Story

“We all have purpose!” – Antoinette Tuff 

As an educator, it is very hard putting the words school and shooting together. It’s the common fear of every parent and educator; the realization that an actually school crisis may occur. It seems that school shootings have increased over the last decade in the United States. However, recent data shows that mass shootings have had high rates since the 1980s. What has brought our attention to school shootings recently are the frequency and fatalities. The tragedy and trauma of school shootings is very hard for children and families to get over. It creates a damaging culture and fear of school for stakeholders. School shootings seem to have become taboo. This causes me to ask, have we become desensitized to school shootings? I believe we have. That’s why I’m so thankful for Antoinette Tuff’s story. It has inspired us all to find compassion even in tough times. After the crisis at McNair Elementary School in Metro Atlanta, President Obama called Antoinette Tuff an example that God is real. What Antoinette did is exactly why I view educators as the guardian angels of children in schools across the world. Teaching is a gift and to me, if educators treat it as such, then we can truly change the way the people live, learn and love. Mostly importantly, we can be the ones that help people cope with difficulties in their lives.

Lifetime has brought the conversation of school safety and the importance of crisis management to the forefront yet again with their recent depiction of the Dekalb County School Shooting in Georgia. The Antoinette Tuff Story shows how an educator talked down a shooter at her school. Her story, shows just important how compassion is. I believe that Antoinette’s Tuff’s story shows the importance of schools implementing SEL (social emotional learning), crisis prevention and school culture programs that teach tolerance.  It’s also important for stakeholders to know how to prevent school shootings. Prevention begins with education. Our children model what they see. I believe that character education through restorative school programs such as SEL are important. Schools partnering with community stakeholders can help change the frequent occurrence of school shootings and tragedies. Antoinette Tuff’s story shows us just how important character education is and why we cannot take school shootings lightly.

Here Are Reasons Why Character Education is Important in Schools

  1. It shows how compassion changes things
  2. It creates a no place for hate school zone
  3. It implements conflict resolution techniques
  4. It celebrates cultural diversity and differences
  5. It improves race relations
  6. It bridges the gap between police officers and citizens
  7. It affirms the importance of tolerance
  8. It helps build accountability of actions
  9. It empowers everyone to use their voice
  10. It shows that every individual is valued and important

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