RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — It was an unexpected event Frances Rosales experienced in February 2022.
“It was a little bit traumatic,” she said. “Not just for me, but really for the kids.”
A lockdown happened at a school that Rosales happened to be substitute teaching at that day.
“I took the kids and put them in a place where they were very secure and hidden, and out the way were nobody could see,” she said. “So if someone opened the door and peaked in through the classroom, the only person you could see was me.”
After that event, Rosales soon learned something.
“I was really shocked to find out that substitute teachers didn’t have any trainings at all with lockdown procedures,” she said.
Shortly after, the Covenant School shooting happened in Nashville.
“If we look back at Covenant School and even Sandy Hook, there were substitutes in those classrooms,” said Sean Martin.
Martin serves as the assistant safety director for Rutherford County Schools and said the Covenant School shooting sparked them to begin the conversation about providing school safety trainings for substitute teachers.
“We always have those substitute questions that come up,” he said. “How are we going to train our substitutes if something happens in the school? How are they going to handle it?”
Rosales said she was substitute teaching in a different school district despite being a school board member in Rutherford County, but that experience pushed her to get Rutherford County Schools to consider requiring training for substitutes, and pushing the legislature to make this a state law.
On Thursday, Sept. 21, the school board met to vote on two resolutions.
The first would be a resolution asking the Tennessee legislature to make required lockdown trainings for substitute teachers a state law.
The second resolution would require lockdown trainings for substitute teachers working in Rutherford County Schools.
“If you’ve got the right person in that role, whether it be a teacher or a substitute, I think they are going to be willing to have that training and understand what goes into it,” said Martin.
It’s training Rosales said she’ll continue to advocate for every school district.
“I want something to change to say we require in the state of Tennessee all substitute teachers to have training so they can know what to do,” she said.
School board members approved the first resolution at Thursday’s meeting.
The second resolution was tabled until the Oct. 26 meeting, where the board will make a final vote.
If approved, Martin is hoping to have a plan in place for substitute teachers trained either by the end of the school year next spring, or by the fall of the upcoming school year.