VT tragedy offers teachable moments

April 17, 2007
Reported by Pam Dixon

It was just ten months ago when St. Louis High senior Megan McCay visited Virginia Tech as she considered her college choices. News of Monday's killing spree hit her hard. Megan says, "It was shocking. It just hits you like it's surreal. You can't imagine. I was just there. It was fine, perfect. I couldn't believe that happened there."

Megan's father Terry McCay is a Virginia Tech graduate. McCay says, "If you've ever been to the campus, I've always felt that it was a very safe place and still do. It's a self contained campus in a small town." But now that small town is the talk of every town in the country. Just this week, even before word of the shootings, Megan was learning about domestic terrorism in Jason Oertling's American history class. Oertling says, "When we were talking about this yesterday, none of us realized what was going on at Virginia Tech and how this week once again will be known for another incident of domestic terrorism."

Before Monday's shooting, Oertling was already telling students how deadly of a week this is in American history. April 19th is the anniversary for both the Branch Davidian stand off in Waco and the Oklahoma City Bombing. April 20th is the anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre. And now April 16th will be a new date people will remember for Virginia Tech. Oertling says, "I grew up not having to worry about those things, but now it's important for them to know and there are all those things they have to be aware of and there's some pretty bad people out there."

Teachers like Oertling are turning the Virginia Tech tragedy into teachable moments, teaching lessons that don't come out of a textbook, lessons students won't forget.