SILVER SPRING, Md. — The nightmare in Uvalde, Texas has a shadow that looms over many teachers across the country, including the D.C. region.
For three elementary school teachers in Montgomery County, the shooting that killed 21 people has rattled their sense of safety once again.
They all agree that the emotional toll the tragedy has left on them, which include increased anxiety, worry and stress.
"I had a bunch of kids outside and they all started to scream and yell because they were having fun in recess," Holly Rainville told WUSA9. "My heart jumped into my throat and I got terrified because I thought of the worst. It's not just I'm tired and overworked, I'm also terrified for my life and the life of my students at any moment."
"I'm not feeling safe and feeling valued," Katie Raviv, who also taught in a school near the D.C. sniper attacks, added. "I'm also a bit numb that this happens so often."
"I'm tired of these tragedies reoccurring," Melanie Zimmerman said. "I just feel a little helpless that there's not enough we can do."
Depending on the school in the county, teachers had a moment to discuss their emotions stemming from the massacre this week. Others learned the fine line between addressing what happened with their kids and maintaining a sense of security.
"I become the frontline because I'm the teacher," Raviv said. "I would probably do whatever it takes to make sure my students and colleagues are safe."
While they discussed their feelings about the shooting, they all agreed on the need to take action by pursuing gun reform laws.
"The real change needs to be made with gun laws and keeping everyone safe and not making it easily accessible," Zimmerman said.
"We need an increase in the checks and balances that go into gun ownership," Rainville added.
"There's no need for that gun to be out on the streets," Raviv said.
In the wake of the shooting, at least four schools in the region joined a nationwide movement to hold student walkouts, including McLean High School in Fairfax County. About 200 students briefly walked out carrying signs and chanting, "Will We Be Next?"