Carly Zacharias, a high school teacher from Michigan, handed out hockey pucks to her students to defend during a possible school shooting situation.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 27, 2022. It has since been updated.
Trigger warning: This story contains themes of gun violence that some readers may find distressing
A high school teacher from Michigan went viral after giving her students hockey pucks for self-defense in the event of an active shooter situation. The controversial video has since been taken down. While many praised her for preparing the students for a worst-case scenario, others lamented the dystopian horror that children in America have to live through. Carly Zacharias who goes by @crzachar on TikTok shared a video explaining the instructions she has given her students to follow if they are faced with an active shooter situation. Carly Zacharias is a high school Spanish teacher in Oakland County, Michigan, reported Newsweek.
"If you're like me you've probably been doing a lot of thinking recently about your school safety," Zacharias said. "I just had an idea and I wanted to share it so feel free to steal it." In the video, she walks into her classroom and explains how her students know that if anything bad happens, they should try to open the windows and run out. "My kids know that [Plan A] is always just to get out of that middle window and run across the street," she said, before explaining the darker option. "But of course [Plan B] is barricade the door and fight, you all know this."
She also explained how she gave students a hockey puck to use as a deterrent if they were forced to confront the shooter. "So I thought, what can I give every single student, something to prepare themselves? I thought a hockey puck," said Zacharias. She explained that she tapes a hockey puck to each of her student's desks in case of a school shooting. The video posted on January 3 went viral, garnering more than 2 million views before being deleted. Initially, she asked the students to keep the puck at the corner of their desks but as many were found fidgeting with it, she taped them under the desk within their hand's reach. "That way kids can use them if they need them. Obviously, it's just a deterrent but it definitely makes us feel a little bit better," she said.
My son’s school is holding 4 active shooter drills this year. The only clear impact of these drills is stress, anxiety and confusion on the part of children and families. I would end the drills or make them optional. Let our kids learn the right things. https://t.co/IKeT3b1x6T— Andrew Yang🧢⬆️🇺🇸 (@AndrewYang) November 4, 2019
Zacharias' handy tips come just months after a shooting occurred in Oxford High School, in the same county where she teaches. A student killed four people and injured seven on November 30. She made it clear that the video was in no way a means to complain about the school's safety measures but rather about preparing the students for the worst. "My school has been very proactive when it comes to school safety and continues to be dedicated to improvement. My intent was simply to share a real-life strategy that other teachers could benefit from," she told Newsweek.
There have been a total of 34 school shootings in 2021, 24 of which occurred after August 1, reported Ed Week. The years 2018 and 2019 had 24 shootings each followed by 10 in 2020 because schools were closed for a significant period on account of the pandemic. One user pointed out that banning guns was the solution, "Of course! We had one school shooting in Scotland 25 years ago and guns were banned. We have our priorities straight." Many were horrified by the video. "How is America Real?" wrote one user while another commented, "Teachers spending their own money so that students have something to throw at shooters. Everything is fine." March for Our Lives, a student-led demonstration that supports gun control legislation, hailed the teacher but stressed the importance of gun control. "We have to fight for a reality where we don't need those hockey pucks," they wrote. "Thank you for being so committed to protecting your students, sending love."