Mom Shares Story About Being Furious Her Young Son Was Picked To Protect His Mostly White Peers During A Shooting Until She Spoke With Him

Mom Shares Story About Being Furious Her Young Son Was Picked To Protect His Mostly White Peers During A Shooting Until She Spoke With Him

Many are heartbroken a fifth grader has to think about something so horrific.

Published February 23, 2018

After the terrible shooting at a high school in Florida, many teachers have implemented drills to teach children how to respond in the event of a shooter. When one Black mother learned her 10-year-old son would act as a protector for his classmates, she was upset the teacher told him to sacrifice himself. Then, when she learned her son actually volunteered to risk his life to save others, she shared the emotional story with the world. 

Tanai Benard's son Dezmond "Dez" said if an emergency occurred at his school, he and several other students volunteered to stand between a gunmen and his classmates. Benard was speechless after the conversation she had with Dez, so she decided to share his heroic thoughts to Facebook. 

  1. The Facebook post of the conversation has been shared over 170,000 times

    "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?

    Me: Yes

    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."


  2. Immediately people were struck that her son stepped up to save lives at such a young age

    While speaking with KHOU 11 on Wednesday, Benard said she is afraid to have the discussion with her other children.

    “Every time I start to talk about it, it’s scary,” she told the local news station.

    Dez then explained why he made the decision to volunteer if that situation ever arose.

    “It would be like I already had my turn to live,” Dez 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 her children —Dez, 10, Xavien, 11, and Iyanna, 13 — have traveled through nine different countries. For four years they lived in Abu Dhabi. Benard said she wants to raise three productive, selfless, global citizens.

    Benard is happy her Facebook post is inspiring conversation about what steps need to be taken to prevent further shootings.

    “We as a nation, we need to discuss what’s next,” she said.

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: KHOU 11)


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