Social Studies Teacher Saves Lives – Courage

Social Studies Teacher Saves Lives – Courage


In case this story got lost in the news, another student brought a gun to school and began shooting fellow students. This time the shooter was a 12-year-old boy. This time the victims were an 11-year-old and a 13-year-old. This time the weapon of choice was a sawed-off shot-gun. This time the town was Roswell, New Mexico and the school was Berrendo Middle School.

Stories like this just kind of blend in to the national background now. Stories like this are common-place, mundane, typical… Instead of national headlines and outcries from the public, this story is met with two minutes of coverage on NBC News and a more callous and stoic reaction from the public.  And, even though, Berrendo will never register in the national consciousness of schools like Columbine, Virginia Tech or Sandy Hook, the pain and shock are just as real. It’s the first time for Roswell and the people are truly hurting.

What makes this story fascinating is the actions of social studies teacher, John Masterson. After the first two students were shot, Mr. Masterson calmly walked up to the shooter and talked him into putting the gun down. That’s right, when facing down the barrel of a fully loaded gun, Mr. Masterson put his life on the line to save countless souls. No one knows what would have happened next, but we should be thankful that we will never know.

Social Studies Teacher, John Masterson is a hero!

Imagine the courage it took! Imagine the nerve it took! As New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas put it, “It’s one thing for an armed state police officer to enter a school and do his or her job,  It’s another thing for a teacher, staff member to intervene in a situation like this.” I also think New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez put these actions into perspective for us, “Mr. Masterson … was a hero … who stood there and allowed a gun to be pointed right at him, and to talk down that young boy to drop the gun so that there were no more young kids hurt.”

Your Turn (1) respond via this blog, (2) comment on Facebook page (character development & leadership) or (3) tweet to @CDandLeadership using #CDandL):

1) Social Media Question: Do you believe that Mr. Masterson should be considered a hero? Why or why not?

2) Do you think teachers have a greater responsibility to act with courage and calmness than students in such a situation? Why or why not?

3) Put yourself in that situation, how do you think you would respond if placed in a similar situation

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