Local Teacher Reflects on Newtown Shooting and Keeping Kids Safe

By: Litsa Pappas Email
By: Litsa Pappas Email

It's disturbing for a lot of us to hear about the shooting in Newtown, but for teachers it can be even harder.

Kathleen Holter is the drama teacher at Skyline Middle School. She's been a teacher for 30 years now.

In all those years, she never thought something so horrific could happen inside the walls of a classroom.

"I was physically sick. It felt like almost like a personal attack on teachers and the education institution," said Holter.

As a teacher, she felt for the victims of the Newtown shooting and says if that were to happen here, she'd do anything to keep her students safe.

"And if it meant me getting in harms way in order to protect my students, I would definitely do it. In a heartbeat," said Holter.

Her students say they appreciate how caring she is and trust her with any help they need.

"She respects us, we respect her the same way," said Mariela Romero, one of her fifth grade students.

"I treat them as if they were my own children," said Holter.

That feeling is mutual for her students.

"I think teachers are like moms because when you have homework that you have to finish, they make you do it," said Romero.

Holter says having that strong relationship with her students is what keeps them safe.

"I have kids coming up to me in the halls and telling me little things and it's that interpersonal relationship that you have with each child that makes for a successful learning environment and a caring and safe environment," said Holter.

That safe environment is what's important for a teacher like Holter, especially after seeing a tragedy that could have happened in any school.

Holter says their schools are prepared for any emergency situation, including an intruder. She says they practice those drills regularly in case anything were to happen at their school.

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