In the aftermath of last week’s school shooting that killed 17, Tanai Benard wanted to know how her kids’ school approached safety.
So she asked her 10-year-old son Dezmond about his school safety drills. The Texas teacher and mom of three was shocked to learn just how much he knew about active shooter protocols, and posted their conversation to Facebook.
“Me: Have you guys praticed a lockdown drill in class yet?
Dez: Are you talking about an active shooter drill?
Dez: Yes, we practiced it.
Me: So tell me what you are suppose to do.
Dez: The teacher is suppose to shut and lock the door, put the black paper over the window on the door. Then myself and three other boys are suppose to push the table against the door. After that all the class is going to stand behind us on the back wall.
Me: The class is suppose to stand behind who?
Dez: Me and the other three boys. We stand at the front and they get behind us,” she wrote of their conversation.
“I internally went from 0 to 100 real quick,” she continued. “My child is one of only two black children in a class of 23. Being transparent, I immediately went to the ‘why is my black son being put on the front line?’ (Just being real) So I asked before I verbally stated my thoughts,” she wrote.
The fifth grader gave a response that has since gone viral.
“I didn’t get picked. I volunteered to push the table and protect my friends,” he said. “If it came down to it I would rather be the one that died protecting my friends then have an entire class die and I be the only one that lived.”
Benard’s post has received attention across the country with many praising his bravery and others condemning society for giving children so much responsibility at a young age.
“He is a great kid! It’s a bittersweet moment realizing what your kid would do for another human being! Thank you! I hope/pray it never comes down to that. No child, no human being should have to face that choice in school,” wrote one commenter.
“Wow, he is so young yet so brave. What an amazing little boy (young man). I have a nine year old and if he said anything like that I couldn’t contain myself. It’s sad our kids have to know and worry about these things. Such a sweet boy, and to the mom who is raising this boy, you have done something right!” added another.
The post has been shared more than 150,000 times with more than 318,000 reactions and 54,000 comments.
While parents contemplate how to take action, students across the United States have planned a walkout on April 20 in protest of current gun laws in America. The 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre falls on the same day.