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FL Teacher Fired; Asked Students To Write Obits Before Shooter Drill

A Florida teacher was fired after he asked students to write their own obituaries ahead of an active shooter drill on campus. Psychology teacher Jeffrey Keene told NBC News he believes he used proper judgment for the assignment to 11th and 12th-graders at Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando. After being told about the drill last week, Keene said he felt the obituaries would help the students reflect on their lives during the school shooter scenario. "'This isn't a way to upset you or anything like that,'" he told his class of 35. "It wasn't to scare them or make them feel like they were going to die, but just to help them understand what’s important in their lives and how they want to move forward with their lives and how they want to pursue things in their journey."

In the period after the class, Keene, who'd been hired in January, said students were telling him they were being interviewed by school officials about the assignment. Before the end of seventh period, he'd been fired.

"If you can't talk real to them, then what's happening in this environment?" Keene said. "In my mind, I've done nothing wrong." A school spokesperson said "families were informed that a teacher gave an inappropriate assignment about school violence. Administration immediately investigated and the probationary employee has been terminated." Keene, 63, said he was a new hire and not a member of the union, so has no recourse to reverse the district's decision. He hopes to find another teaching job. "I don't think I did anything incorrectly," Keene said. "I know hindsight is 20/20 but I honestly didn't think a 16-, 17-, 18-year-old would be offended or upset by talking about something we're already talking about."


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