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Preservation - Audio Track
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On October 2nd, 2006, a milk tank truck driver entered a one room Amish schoolhouse, and shot ten girls, killing five. I woke up in the middle of that night in a cold sweat. Startled, I sat straight up in bed, my body reacting as if hit by bullets. This inexplicably deep visceral connection with the Amish Schoolhouse shooting continued for several consecutive nights, and was the inspiration for the poem, “Lessons From Lancaster County”. As an educator, the increasing frequency of school shootings haunted me, and a larger exploration of this ongoing violence began.


Preservation is a detailed cataloging of American school massacres, beginning with the University of Texas Clock Tower shooting in 1966, through the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. Preservation is about erasure, and the ever-illusive effort to hold on to the ephemeral. It is an accounting of violence in its most extreme manifestation. It is an engraving, a marking of history that gives voice to all who have been lost. It is about little Naomi Rose. It is about Thomas Ashton, Rachel Scott, and Isaiah Shoels.  


Preservation demands an exploration of the human and spiritual cost of school shootings. It asks us to consider that nothing happens in isolation, that school massacres depend on collective collaboration and cooperation at a societal level; and it insists that we come together to establish safe havens for learning.

Olean High School-1974

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Northern Arizona Univeristy-2015

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Virginia Tech-

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*The collection is by no means comprehensive. 35 school shootings were selected for Preservation, but there are so many more. Between 2013-15 there were 160 documented school shootings across 38 states. Over half of the shootings resulted in at least one person injured or killed. During this time period, an average of two school shootings took place at K-12 schools a month.

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