Please Excuse This Interruption…

Is it just me, or do you become terrified every time that dreaded intercom turns on?


By Zoë Sage Tracey, North Allegheny Intermediate High School

Why don’t we talk about how we feel for a second.

The silence fills the atmosphere of my class when the intercom beeps to notify the entire school of some message. 

Every time that announcement comes on, “Please excuse this interruption,”  a similar series of questions run through my mind. Is someone being called to the main office again or is it going to be the day I have to huddle in a hidden corner of my classroom? Is there a weather issue, or is North Allegheny going to be in the news the next morning? 

I haven’t even stated what this article is about and you already know what I’m referring to, right? 

Will we become the 23rd school in America to have bullets shot through it this year? I’m sorry for being so direct, but why should I be sorry when this undeniable incident keeps happening. Why do we keep ignoring it? 

Often times when school shootings happen, we don’t consider the effects they have on teachers. When my 28-year-old sister starting teaching Italian six years ago, it was not in her job description to learn how to protect her students from semi-automatics.

I don’t want to talk about politics right now. All we want is to not be scared anymore. ”

“Please excuse this inter-” my teacher is already reaching for his keys to lock the classroom door, just in case. Our teachers’ introduction PowerPoints go from 8 slides to 9, adding on how to exit or where to hide in the event of an intruder. Although it does need to be discussed, I don’t want to talk about politics right now. All we want is to not be scared anymore. 

We don’t deserve to have the threat of violence lurking in the back of our minds while we’re at school trying to learn. We would rather learn how to solve linear equations than how to stop the bleed.”  

While reading our English books, the fleeting thought of a lockdown passes through our minds. We push the thought away because it’s uncomfortable. We push it away because we have a chem test next period and can’t afford the distraction right now. We push it away and we don’t deal with it. 

My friends send yet another article on the most recent school that has been ambushed to our group chat. People call our generation insensitive or lazy because school shootings keep happening, but have you considered how your generation would’ve handled it? No, because you didn’t have to.

These are our friends getting killed; it’s our books being torn apart by bullets; it’s our education being ripped away from us by lack of action. 

Please excuse my interruption, but do not ignore it.

This story was originally published on NA Eye on October 17, 2019.