Danger in the Classroom

Loving-Kindness in a Dangerous Classroom

Mary E. Latela January 5, 2016

In his powerful essay, “Practicing Loving-Kindness in the Face of Danger” Russell Evans| January 4, 2016, LionsRoar recounts his interaction with a student, “Luis,” a very troubled young man who enters a classroom seemingly bent on disorder.

Evans writes: “I wasn’t sure if he was going to stab me, but I knew I had to draw him away from my students. He was much bigger than me. I was in checkmate…. Then something happened which I cannot take credit for. The moment surrendered me.

“An incredible sadness washed over me, so weighty that I collapsed in my chair. I felt a pain that wasn’t about me, but rather a connection to something in Luis. Tears came and I said, “I’m so sorry. That must hurt so bad.”

He stopped, relaxed his hand and said, “Yeah.” And just like that it was all over.

Friend, after a sigh of relief, do not turn the page. Mr. Evans points to a difficult dilemma. He is a man of non-violence, one who has practiced the gentle warrior stance, not the angry aggressor. He wonders what might have happened if he had been a gun carrier in this classroom, in this possible life and death situation.

A miracle? Perhaps. But we have a lot of nerve taking credit for a moment of grace when a boy receives compassion, a teacher sees the light, and the students witness noble surrender. I can name more than a few teacher-martyrs who did not live through such a scenario, no matter what their religious practices. Let it be.


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