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Teacher Flo Rice, wounded during mass shooting at Santa Fe High School, writes open letter to Superintendent.

September 28, 2018

 

Foreword: Too many of our nation's teachers alongside students have been killed, wounded or terrorized in the 19 years since the national scourge known as the modern American active school shooter/bomber era was established. One of the first of 13 innocents murdered at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999 was business teacher Dave Sanders. Surrounded by a group of terrified students, Mr. Sanders literally bled to death in a locked second floor classroom as he waited for hours for first responders to arrive. His last words were "Tell my family I love them."

 

On February 14, 2018 geography teacher Scott Beigel was shot dead at Stoneman Douglas High School as he ushered students to safety into his third floor classroom. Also murdered that awful day in Parkland, Florida was Chris Dixon, the school's athletic director, Aaron Feis, assistant baseball coach and 14 students.

 

On May 18, 2018, this disturbing trend continued when teachers Ann Perkins and Cynthia Tisdale were shot dead at Santa Fe High School along with eight students. Additionally, thirteen other innocents were wounded including teacher Flo Rice. More than four months later, the building where students, faculty and staff reported back to school in August still bears the scars of the horrible mass shooting/bombing.

 

 

 

By comparison Columbine High School was completely renovated, the library where most of the killings happened was torn down and relocated and the Freshman Building at Stoneman Douglas High School where the shootings occurred has been closed with a wall surrounding it.

 

Ms. Rice allowed the Workplace Violence Prevention Institute to republish her following open letter to Superintendent Dr. Leigh Wall.

 

(c) Flo Rice, 2018

 

This photo (see above) is the back of Santa Fe High School.

I have included my concerns I sent to our superintendent Dr. Wall.

Dr. Wall,

 

After over 4 months I finally felt emotionally strong enough to return to the doorway at Santa Fe High School where I was shot.

 

All the emotions rushed back to me. The disbelief as I was shot and fell through the back door, the horror of looking up to see Ann Perkins laying a few feet in front of me, then the panic of seeing my own leg twisted and broken and bullet holes through my jeans.

 

I remember dragging myself to the corner of the brick wall and hearing the pieces of glass from the bullet shattered window above me continuing to fall through the gunfire.

 

I’m not sure what I was expecting to find upon my return. But it saddened me that the bullet shattered window was still boarded up and now the wood is turning grey with age. A construction zone sign is on the door with black plastic hanging behind it.

 

It might as well state “War Zone.”

 

That is what it felt like to me and still resembles. The students have to see this boarded up window every day. It was a painful reminder to me of the same bullets that went through Ann Perkins and myself and shattered that window.

 

Did the district not receive enough funding to at least replace the window? I believe a “No Entry” sign would suffice as opposed to “Construction Zone."

 

Santa Fe High School teacher Ms. Flo Rice

 

 

 

I believe this should be repaired in a way that it is not a daily reminder to our students of that horrific day.

 

Mr. Perkins has graciously offered to replace the window at his expense since the district has not allocated funds to do so.

 

Sincerely,

 

Flo Rice

 

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Two million Americans experience workplace violence each year. Homicide is the fourth leading cause of occupational death in the United States. Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, United States Department of Labor, https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/workplaceviolence/

Stop workplace violence now.

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