SPRING, Texas – In a viral post on Facebook, a local mom shared a selfless gesture made by her 10-year-old son and a sobering reminder of the scary situations that can happen in American classrooms.
Tanai Benard's son Dezmond "Dez" volunteered to stand between gunmen and his classmates during school shooting drills.
Benard posted a conversation she had with Dez about school shooting drills and his response left her speechless.
The post included the following text with a photo of her young son:
"My 5th grader and I were conversing on the way to work/school this morning. As an educator, I wanted to be sure he and his classmates were taking the school safety drills seriously and not using it as a time to socialize and goof off.
Me: Have you guys practiced a lockdown drill in class yet?
Dez: Are you talking about an active shooter drill?
Dez: Yes, we practiced it
Me: So tell me what you are suppose to do.
Dez: The teacher is suppose to shut and lock the door, put the black paper over the window on the door.
Then myself and three other boys are suppose to push the table against the door.
After that all the class is going to stand behind us on the back wall.
Me: The class is suppose to stand behind who?
Dez: Me and the other 3 boys. We stand at the front and they get behind us.
*I internally went from 0 to 100 real quick. My child is one of only 2 black children in a class of 23. Being transparent, I immediately went to the "why is my black son being put on the front line?" (Just being real) So I asked before I verbally stated my thoughts*
Me: Why did you get picked to stand in front of everyone else if a shooter came in your school?
Dez: I didn't get picked. I volunteered to push the table and protect my friends
Me: *immediate nausea * Dez why would you volunteer to do that?
Dez: If it came down to it I would rather be the one that died protecting my friends then have an entire class die and I be the only one that lived
Father God, it took everything out of me not to breakdown. I still have a lump in my throat. 10 damn years old and this has to be our babies thought process in America."
The Facebook post of the conversation has over 335,000 reactions and more than 160,000 shares.
While speaking with KHOU 11 on Wednesday, Benard said she fears asking her other two children what they would do in an active shooter scenario.
“Every time I start to talk about it, it’s scary,” she said.
Dez told her his practiced, volunteered role in any active shooting at school involves standing in front and putting himself between bullets and friends.
“It would be like I already had my turn to live,” Dezmond Floyd said in an interview on Wednesday. "So, I would let the other 22 students live the (lives) they wanted to live.”
“That was the end of the conversation because I couldn’t speak anymore after that,” Benard said. “I mean, what do you tell your child? Do you tell them to not be selfless?”
The single mother and Humble Middle School teacher traveled with her children Dez, 10, Xavien, 11, and Iyanna, 13, through nine different countries.
They even spent four years living in Abu Dhabi. Benard said she wants to raise three productive, selfless, global citizens.
However, when news of students shot in south Florida broke last week, Dez was stuck in his room learning from bad grades on punishment. He heard enough, though, at school to know how he would react and his words have touched thousands online.
Benard hopes her Facebook post provokes meaningful conversations around the country.
“We as a nation, we need to discuss what’s next,” she said.