Viral TikTok video from USD 497 teacher addresses gun violence in schools

Elementary art teacher pokes fun at need for go-buckets filled with toilet paper, other supplies


Deerfield teacher Hannah Hurst posted a series of TikToks via her account @artteacherinquarantine talking about district-wide distributed go-buckets for crisis scenarios.

By Maebelle Hamlin, Staff Reporter

Gun safety is a heated topic no matter the group, but when brought into schools another layer of complexity is added.

Hannah Hurst, an art teacher at Deerfield Elementary decided to speak out by publishing a series of videos on TikTok about district distributed go-buckets — filled with supplies including gauze pads, flashlights, water, permanent markers and a hammer. These videos went viral in early April and landed Hurst a mention on Newsweek. As of April 27, her first video about the buckets had 2.2 million views.

“The best supply would be gun regulations so that lockdown drills and honey buckets become unnecessary,” Hurst said. “I’m not in need of more supplies for a lockdown drill. I find the fact that we have to do the drills and be prepared for such an event to be a uniquely American experience.”

Along with go-buckets teachers attend ALICE — Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate — training yearly to prepare for an active shooter in their school. Generally, the training includes an online session and a 60-90 minute in-person training. The latter could not take place this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“The past few years we have done ALICE training. The ALICE protocol has schools identify where the shooter or issue is and alert staff,” LHS gifted facilitator Emily Beecham said. “Staff can use their judgment where it would be better to evacuate or shelter in place…We aren’t required to stay in our classrooms as sitting ducks. If the shooter enters our room we can throw things and try to fight back if we think that is best.”

The district does everything they can to prepare teachers and students for these situations.

“I think the drills are very helpful because at the end of the day our job is to keep our students safe and these drills are designed to do just that,” Hurst said. “The drills are anxiety inducing for children but necessary.”

LHS has had numerous incidents of guns in school. During the 2019 school year, students were found to have brought guns to school three times. Again in the winter of 2020 a gun was taken off a student at LHS, and this month, a student joined an online class pointing a weapon at the camera. 

“I didn’t know about [the 2019 gun incidents] until after the fact, but that really speaks to how awesome our staff is,” Beecham said. “No one got hurt thanks to our security officers, social workers and principals.”

Each year public schools in Kansas must conduct nine safety and crisis drills.

“Four of the nine drills must be fire drills, and two must be tornado (in September and March),” district Director of Administrative Services Ron May said. “There are no requirements for lockdown, although they are recommended. We ask our buildings to do one active shooter drill per semester.”

Though practicing drills and filling supply buckets can be an intimidating task, May and Hurst agree it helps ensure the safety of students. 

“I feel very confident that our school district has done everything that they can do to prepare students, staff and faculty, for an event of this nature. My concerns do not rest with my school district or my school and I want to be crystal clear about that,” Hurst said. “I’d like for our country to adopt sensible gun legislation at the federal level so that we don’t need active shooter drills and buckets for children to use as makeshift bathrooms when they are trapped in their classrooms for hours on end. I just wish that our children didn’t have to live with the possibility of being shot while at school.”