Education, Gun Violence, Ohio, Public Schools, Schools, Uncategorized


I am a 3rd grade teacher. 19 8-or 9-year-olds walk in every morning. It is not easy. See, they have to pass a reading test to move on to 4th grade, and a lot of energy and time is devoted to this, and they want to be what they are, kids, and play and talk, and goof off, and it’s really, really hard to move them.

Nevertheless, I persist.

My school is a typical urban elementary, K-6, with all the pressure from the government to raise scores, tweak lessons, always striving for more bang for less buck.

My background included guns from an early age. I shot trap, skeet, sporting clays, and blackbirds in cornfields with a Remington 1100 12 gauge shotgun. I shot cans and bottles with a 22 pistol and quite the array of BB guns. I hate to brag, but I’m a decent shot.

Throughout the year, my school has a variety of drills. We have fire drills, in which the objective is to get kids out quickly, tornado drills, in which the objective is to get the kids to the lowest level of the building quickly, and we have lockdown drills, in which the objective is to get the kids to an area in the classroom which is the least penetrable by bullets and keep them absolutely silent.

Our staff received A.L.I.C.E. training a couple of years ago. We were taught how to teach students to throw books or marbles at an active shooter. We learned to barricade our doors, things we could use as weapons in our classrooms, such as creating a puddle of dish detergent on the floor in front of the door to make the shooter slip, how to throw children out of windows, which would not work in my current building at all, by the way, and the overriding theme was simply, “It’s not IF, but WHEN.”

I have to go to school on Tuesday. The latest slaughter was on Wednesday, and I went numb to school Thursday and Friday.

Thus far in 2018, we are averaging a shooting on school property somewhere in the U.S. every 60 hours.

After tomorrow, we will be due for another.

It would be helpful to have some guidelines from the government here. After all, the government has no issue with making up requirements for promotion to 4th grade, who should graduate, or which teachers are great, mediocre, or should rework their resumes to seek employment outside of education.

I keep checking, but I find nothing.

In the latest incident, there was a smoke-producing device, a fire alarm pulled, and students slaughtered as they followed protocol and filed out of classrooms.

Some legislators (or their unelected but vociferous spouses) ((Sara Marie BRENNER, but not naming names; however, there is a screenshot below the article)) apparently found it in their tainted souls to bring up the fact that murderers can use pressure cookers or cars to slaughter others. And then to ask if we should ban fire alarms. And then to suggest that teachers should arm themselves with handguns to protect their students.

This is a terrible thought. Who in their right mind would want their child taught by a commando? And for many other reasons.

I am sure that one who is intent on murdering others can creatively use a sharpened pencil, a computer cart, a frayed electric pencil sharpener cord, or sundry other available implements to murder. We are rather frail, after all.

My question was, “What should I do for the NEXT fire drill?”

I am still having trouble falling asleep, see, because I think about the fact that, in the latest, but certainly not last, slaughter of schoolchildren on 2-14-2018, teachers like me followed protocol, at least at first, and SENT CHILDREN TO DEATH UNKNOWINGLY.

This awareness is going to haunt me for some time. I grieve for the children, their teachers, their parents, who sent them to school that morning with maybe extra money for a rose or some candy because it was Valentine’s Day, never to see them again except in the morgue. I grieve for innocence. I grieve for what I was before and what I am becoming. I am definitely not my happy-go-lucky self today. All of us share a collective soul, and I grieve for that.

I am not looking forward to Tuesday. I dread the next fire drill.

I want someone with more authority than me to fix this and make it NEVER happen again, but the math part of me knows we are due for another soon.

~Jackie Conrad



Cheers for Chuy in Chicago from Ytown Ohio


So why would “just a mom” from Youngstown, Ohio be cheering on Jesus Chuy Garcia for a Chicago mayoral race, to be held Tuesday April 7th?? I am Kelly and here are my reasons.

chuy me

Reason #1 Before even joining the Badass Teachers Association, when I first was researching all of this education ‘deform’, in the first part of 2013, I came across quotes from, or articles about, Karen Lewis. It was an immediate respect and admiration. I wanted her wise words about education to be shouted from the rooftops. I thought she was “spot on” in almost everything I came across.


Reason #2 Then while fairly new to the BadAss Teachers Association, and having taken on the leadership role of Ohio BATs, we leaders met for the first time. Gabby as I am, I was humbly all ears that first meeting. I was so new to activism and here were experienced activist teachers. Somehow Chicago came up, and honestly ONE HALF HOUR of our 2 hour meeting was dominated by these teachers discussing all that Chicago teachers modeled for them in an exemplary manner.  While singing the “windy city’s praises”, Karen Lewis came up. Their admiration and respect for her confirmed mine.

Ohio BATs

Reason #3 I went home driven to research more. The Sea of Red for Ed had formed again and again and came up in image and article repeatedly. On one hand I found it thrilling, thinking to myself NO ONE could possibly ignore what they all were saying. I was pumped to think fight BIG. I also quietly hoped we would not have to get that loud in Ohio. But, alas Rahm Emanuel turned a deaf ear every single time, no matter the thousands upon thousands that turned out to protest. Chicago’s teachers are Ohio’s heros!


Reason #4 For two years, we in BATs backed Chicago’s battles, hearing first-hand accounts (though they had been fighting long before then). We watched sadly and angrily as #OneTerm Rahm closed school after school. We drew in our breath and came up out of our seats as a 9 -year old called the mayor into check. I can picture the celebration in Asean Johnson’s home. I can hear  Asean’s chants, and see his mom, Shoeniece Reynolds beautiful rejoicing smile when Jesus Chuy Garcia wins. Chicago, city of the fighters, deserves someone in office for the people, not for the profits.



Reason #5 Oh my, how I love Rousemary and Jesus and their family. Their TENACITY against the frustration they are pounded with again and again is over the top.  I WANT TO SEE ROUSEMARY smile on Tuesday, April 7th, 2015. I WANT TO HEAR HER SAY “BAM”!!! This gal and her husband know NO FEAR…and NO QUITTING. For them I want a DIFFERENCE! I want a change for their city in the worst way!!!


Reason #6 What an emotional rollercoaster. Run, Karen, Run was being shouted everywhere it seemed. FINALLY after so many people pleading for such, KAREN LEWIS announced her candidacy for Chicago Mayor. We were all sailing along on the sheer smell of VICTORY. Then an eerie quietness befell the educational sectors. Karen Lewis was in the hospital. It was a serious diagnosis. A serious diagnosis that came right in on a personal battle of my mom’s. I sobbed. Karen rightfully withdrew. And we sat still and somber for days. Maybe even weeks. Some seems like a blur.




Reason #7 And then as we all sat almost paralyzed, from exhaustion, from worry, and from truly not even being able to tap into the “what now?”— Brave, Golden Karen Lewis announced that she was endorsing Jesus “Chuy” Garcia for the new mayor of Chicago. He would champion this fight. He would come against the millions, the corruption, and the cold control. The Chicago chant picked up “CHUY CHUY CHUY!” Her words have been so wise and thoughtful always. Her signal words were equal to their weight in gold.

chuy and karen

Reason #8 I and many hundreds of others will travel to Chicago at April end for a National NPE Conference. I want to FEEL the ripple of hope and change. I want to see the city when they have been freshly given a new leader. I want to see KAREN with a smile, relief and PEACE on her face. I want the gears to cog in the other direction. I want to be in that room of hundreds upon hundreds of education activists and hear that deafening shout when they re-announce CHUY’s win.


ChuyForChildren ChuyForCommunity ChuyForChicago