Dezmond Floyd (DF) and Tanai Benard (TB)
DF: What emergency drills did you have as you were growing up in school?
TB: Fire drills and tornado drills and that was it. So can you tell me exactly what happens in active shooter drills?
DF: The teacher is supposed to lock the door, turn the lights off, and push this big desk behind the door. And the first time I did an active shooter drill I saw her having a hard time with it so I decided to come help her because if she doesn’t get the desk on the door in time, the intruder can open it.
TB: So what do you do next after you push the table?
DF: The class is supposed to stand on the back wall but I decided to stand in front of the class because I want to take the bullet and save my friends.
TB: So does your teacher ask you to stand in front of the class?
DF: No. My life matters but, it’s kind of like, there’s one person that can come home to the family or there can be 22 people that come home to a family.
TB: Do you know why it’s hard for me to accept that?
DF: Because I’m such a young age, I shouldn’t really be giving my life up, like, you shouldn’t have to worry about that.
TB: Right. If there’s any a time that I want you to be selfish, it’s then. I need you to come home.
So would you still stand in front of your friends even with me telling you not to?
DF: Yes. I get that you would want me to come home but it’s really not a choice that you can make, it’s a choice that I have to make.
TB: I see now that there’s nothing I could say that would change your mind. I just hope that it never comes to that.
DF: Talking about this makes me feel sad but you raised a good person.
TB: And this is why I can’t have the conversation with you. You keep saying things like that and I’m speechless. You’re 10 and you’re that 10-year-old who doesn’t clean their room and there is no handbook for this. This is why the conversation always ends between you and I in dead silence because I’m a mother and I don’t know what to say.