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Perspectives and Reactionsis an A Story writing workshop designed to create an inclusive and autonomous space to break the silence that frequently falls upon a community when trauma occurs. Without hesitation outsiders often contextualize an environment without knowing its voice. Through a series of prompts, writers submit anonymously the perspectives surrounding the event at hand. Thus giving the voice back to those most immediately impacted. Following that, participants get to read and respond; challenging the environment to engage in their togetherness.

In April 2019, Aurora West Collegiate Preparatory Academy was impacted. News syndicates have documented this situation well but have often neglected the voices inside of the building. Due to an ongoing investigation, not all names were used. In this series debut, we present Perspectives and Reactionsfrom AWPCA.

If only you knew…
That I can’t sleep at night because I feel like he’s coming for me next.

If only you knew…
Hearing people humanize a criminal so much his crimes become miniscule to his being is the reason I doubt my emotions.

If only you knew…
I don’t want to come to school anymore because who knows when the next person I care about will pop off.

If only you knew…
He was more than the high schools administrator to me.

If only you knew…
That actions speak louder than words but when you say everything is okay your actions don’t feel like they speak loud enough.

If only you knew…
I can’t stop thinking about if it would have been me.

If only you knew…
That my safe space is gone and now I have nowhere to go.

If you only knew…
I’m struggling to move on because how…

If you only knew…
Police officers don’t make me feel safer.

The Reaction

I feel like I can relate a lot to this person because he was more than just a high school administrator. He cared so much for everyone he was the last person I expected to do something like this. School was my distraction from home and now where do I go to smile and have a great time.

What they don’t know is…

I can’t even be in this space, yet I’m required to.

This isn’t home anymore.

I keep telling myself “if you all the checked up on him”

Why was that being so selfish, would it have changed anything if I was there for him the way he was there for me?

Because of him I’m unstable, my equilibrium can’t be maintained.

Now I know how he felt, surrounded by people yet with no one to talk to.

If I only told him how much I loved him, if he only knew how much we care.

I wonder if he ever had a grasp of how much he meant to all of us.

Would things have been different?

If she spoke up with things have been different?

If I spoke up would things have been different?

If we spoke up would things be different?

And when will things be different

Did you hear about the chem teacher?

She got a PhD in biology and this is her first year teaching. She doesn’t even know how to handle the situation but she is prepared to be afraid for the rest of her life.

Did you hear about the chem teacher on Tuesday?

During the lock down someone opened her door. She didn’t know what to do so she ran towards the intruder to try to protect the students. When she realized it was another teacher she lost some tension. She explained it to her students that she was scared but that this was something they all had to get used to because this is life, this is the norm.

Did you hear about the chem teacher?
She doesn’t want to be here anymore.
Today she seemed sad and I don’t know how to help her.

What they don’t know is

the perspective of kids that came in here there words and secrets resonated within my walls.

The tears and frustration vanished as they left.

If you only know how many young souls came here after a bad day.

A sad weekend, a lost kid found themselves heard in these four walls.

I was a safe place once,

I was a room that let kids be who they wanted to be.

When this happened my four walls were no longer a safe spot.

It made kids hearts drop once they entered the room.

I was no longer a home but more of an open wound.

These four walls are empty.

I bet that years from now the joy and reassurance I brought will no longer be remembered. I am a painful reminder of the past. Because of this my four walls no longer bring comfort.

I am unable to help kids figure out their life after college.

I don’t relieve stress,

I create it.

What they don’t know is that I don’t trust many.

They all lost our trust and it’s going to be hard to get it back.

Trust is lost and hard to get back once you turn around there is no going back

Lock down | lock in | secure perimeter

Secure perimeter| locked down | lock and

Lock perimeter | in locked | down locked

Locked in the in secure perimeter of my thoughts, my mind, my heart, my fear

I’m trying to find myself

But I just keep hearing of the intercom

What’s next?

What are we doing here?

They say don’t worry.

I’m past that.

Fear is a normal now.

Fear is the normal now.



Agreeing about everything is okay
knowing life is nothing but empty space
and we need to know fear is normal now

If you only knew why I do what I do, maybe you’ll understand me a little more and/or maybe you will be a bit more patient with me.

I do what I do because I want to leave a footprint of my knowledge, my thoughts, my perspectives, my humor, my persona sense to you.

I may not be the most “MASTERED” at my placement, but once I leave this “WORLD”, I want to make sure I left everything I got and owned through my time here, this place/think/game we call life.

I want to leave knowing that I touched one mind.

Save(d) one soul, guide one dream, and fuel one future one/each day at a time.

Life is a beautiful thing.

Let’s be remembered for what we do and how we do it in one loving way. 🙂

♥ If you only knew how I feel about you ♥

♥ If you only knew how you put a smile on my face ♥

♥ If you only knew that thanks to you I don’t feel blue ♥

♥ If you only knew that you always make my days ♥

♥ If you only knew… ♥

Because of him doing that I don’t feel safe in school anymore and also little kids shouldn’t be going through this so young. It just makes me mad that our community is this bad and we have to live with fear and deal with it. People might think its fun but they need help. What’s really the point of it? Just killing innocent people

He was a good man and helped me get through a lot and he helped me graduate and get my grades together.

This person really appreciated Him. I agree

I didn’t know that It could really be him.

Honestly I wasn’t expecting that plus like I was really kind and close to him.

I’m still shook that it was him. I miss him.



Dude same!!

He was always there fighting for us,

Letting us play,

He always wanted the best for the soccer.

He seemed fine the day before.

It really still doesn’t seem real.

I remember when he used to pick me up while soccer practice but in the field and we used to play fight! !

Miss him in a way to!!

Him doing what he did,

I don’t feel safe at school anymore.

Also hearing what everything else happened at every other school,

Also doesn’t help that feeling of unsafeness.

I just really hate how we feel unsafe at school which is somewhere we should feel safe at.

I just hope we can trust everyone at the school and hope these problems don’t get worse.

Because of the situation with everything that has been going on with all these school shootings and shootings in general. I feel somewhat unsafe/scared but I know that West in general is literally like home to all of us.

Thank you

What they don’t know about the effects that happened to us.

What they don’t know is that he was very caring.

He was always there for everyone.

I was going through a tough time and he was the first person who was here for me and asked me if I needed something.

What they don’t know is that he felt like family.

The Reaction

My uncle has been locked up for the vast majority of my life. He almost beat my aunt to death. After 25+ years behind bars I honestly believe he is sorry. It has taken me a long time to get here but I’m here now.

I always knew him as blood…
Now he is family.
Love you Unc


Fear is now everyday thing.

We hear were safe.

Are we really?

I don’t know him but this is sad for some people

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