Marissa Schimmoeller is a new teacher at a high school in Ohio. After the deadly school shooting in Florida, Marissa knew she had to return to school the following Monday and discuss the tragedy with her students.
The 24-year-old English teacher dreaded the conversation about their active shooter plan, particularly because she has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair.
Because of her condition, Marissa knows she may be unable protect her students as an able-bodied teacher could. “Today was the first time I had to teach the day after a mass school shooting,” she wrote on Facebook. “I dreaded facing my students this morning. I was dreading one, specific question.
Soon after class began, a freshman asked me the question I had been dreading since I had heard about the tragedy in Florida.
“‘What will we do if a shooter comes in your room?'”
Marissa nervously began to review her plan of action. She told her students that, should the unthinkable happen, their safety is her number one priority.
Moments later, another student raised her hand.
As it turned out, Marissa’s students already came up with a plan of their own…
Marissa Schimmoeller, 24, recently began her very first year of teaching.
Marissa was born with cerebral palsy and has been in a wheelchair ever since she was a child.
She teaches English to ninth and tenth graders at Delphos Jefferson High School in Delphos, Ohio.
“I begin on the first day by talking about my disability,”she told Today Parents.
Her students are well-aware of how to assist her in the classroom, from passing out papers to writing on the board.
Just like countless teachers across the country, Marissa has been preparing an active-shooter plan, should the unthinkable happen.
She was incredibly nervous about the discussion, especially given her condition and its potential limitations in protecting her students.
“Today was really hard for me,” she wrote in a viral Facebook post. “Today was the first time I had to teach the day after a mass school shooting.
“I dreaded facing my students this morning, and as the first students walked in, I began to feel the anxiety pooling in my stomach.”
“I was dreading one, specific question. Soon after class began, a freshman asked me the question I had been dreading since I had heard about the tragedy in Florida.
“‘Mrs. Schimmoeller,’ she asked. ‘What will we do if a shooter comes in your room?’
“My stomach sank. I launched into my pre-planned speech about our plan of action.
Then, I knew I had to say the harder part: ‘I want you to know that I care deeply about each and every one of you and that I will do everything I can to protect you. But – being in a wheelchair, I will not be able to protect you the way an able-bodied teacher will. And if there is a chance for you to escape, I want you to go.
‘Do not worry about me. Your safety is my number one priority.’
“Slowly, quietly, as the words I had said sunk in, another student raised their hand.
She said, ‘Mrs. Schimmoeller, we already talked about it.
‘If anything happens, we are going to carry you.’
“I lost it. With tears in my eyes as I type this, I want my friends and family to know that I understand that it is hard to find the good in the world, especially after a tragedy like the one that we have watched unfold, but there is good.
True goodness. It was found in the hearts of my students today.”
Marissa’s touching Facebook post went viral with over 25,000 shares.
She has also been praised and acknowledged by the administration at her school.
“I think my post has touched people so deeply because of the goodness it highlights,” she told Today Parents. “So often, when there is a tragedy, it is easy to feel angry and hurt. When I was in front of those amazing kids as they told me they would carry me out of our building, if, God forbid, we were faced with a situation like the one in Florida, it occurred to me that every child, every one of my students, is so full of light and goodness.”
“I wanted to share that with those around me, because I spent so much of my day angry about the violence, and I knew that people needed reminding of the good in this world just as much as I did,” she said.
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