Utilizing experiences and expertise from English educators, young adult literature authors, classroom teachers, and mental health professionals, this book considers how secondary English Language Arts can address school gun violence. Curated by field experts, contributions to this volume pay special attention to how a school’s culture and climate affect how teachers and students communicate around difficult topics that are embedded in the curriculum, but not directly addressed. As the first book that helps teachers and teacher educators to grapple with the topic of school violence specifically in the English education classroom, this book promotes young adult literature and writing activities that address timely and unfortunately recurring events.

section I|29 pages

Gun Violence in Schools

chapter 1|6 pages

It’s the Gun

ByChris Crutcher

chapter 2|7 pages

History of Violence

Guns, U.S. Education, and American Exceptionalism
ByP. L. Thomas

chapter 3|7 pages


How the Rest of the World Views U.S. Gun Policy
ByDavid Belbin

chapter 4|7 pages


Considering the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Student Activists’ Media Representations through a Youth Lens
ByChristian Z. Goering

section II|33 pages

Reading About School Violence

chapter 5|8 pages

What We Know and What We Can Do

Using Mercy Rule to Help Students Understand the Causes and Warning Signs of School Violence
ByJames Blasingame

chapter 6|7 pages

Looking for Hope—and Helpers—in Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

ByGretchen Rumohr-Voskuil

chapter 7|9 pages

Adolescent Counter-Storytelling

Finding Youth Voice and Truth in That’s Not What Happened
ByShelly Shaffer

chapter 8|7 pages

Exploring the Blame Game Through the Lens of the Scout

Reading and Writing About Give a Boy a Gun
ByMelissa Williamson-Pulkkinen

section III|32 pages

Recovering from Trauma, Finding Allies, and Taking Action Towards Social Justice

chapter 9|6 pages

Welcoming Ghosts into Our Classroom with Long Way Down

BySarah J. Donovan

chapter 10|8 pages

This is Not a Drill

Exploring the After-Effects of Traumatic Events with Are You Still There by Sarah Lynn Scheerger
ByMaria Hernandez Goff

chapter 11|7 pages

What He Knows and What He Will Say

Voicing for Justice in All American Boys
ByAlice Hays

chapter 12|9 pages

Making Good Trouble

John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell’s March Trilogy and the Lessons of the Civil Rights Movement
ByMeghan M. Sweeney

section IV|26 pages

Writing Beyond Fear by Addressing the Issues

chapter 13|7 pages

On Rhetorical Analysis, Teaching, and the American Culture of Guns

ByJonathan Bush

chapter 14|7 pages

Writing through Pain

How Teachers can Support Writing as Therapy for Students Processing Trauma
ByJason J. Griffith

chapter 15|10 pages

Writing in the Margins

Students’ Voices in the Aftermath of Trauma
ByJames E. Fredricksen, Joe Dillon

section V|9 pages

Arming Teachers with Words, Stories, and Power

chapter 16|7 pages

When the Gun isn’t Metaphorical

Educating Teachers in the Age of School Shootings
ByMelanie Shoffner