Real thing or staged drill, the mere sound of gunshots can be life-changing

‘We cannot allow ourselves to be paralyzed by isolated tragedies,’ says longtime educator Blondean Davis, being inducted into the Illinois Black Hall of Fame.

SHARE Real thing or staged drill, the mere sound of gunshots can be life-changing
Southland College Prep Charter High School CEO Blondean Davis inside the school’s gym in Richton Park.

Southland College Prep Charter High School CEO Blondean Davis inside the school’s gym in Richton Park.

Pat Nabong / Sun-Times


The sound of bullets; a terrifying classroom tempo orchestrated by gunmen slaughtering America’s schoolchildren. 

“The sound of bullets can change everything,” said Blondean Davis, 72, a renowned Chicago educator being inducted into the Illinois Black Hall of Fame next Saturday for her decades of Chicago Public Schools service.

Davis, raised in a once peaceful bungalow enclave in Englewood before receiving three academic degrees including her doctorate at Loyola University Chicago, tells Sneed she had never heard the sound of bullets until seven years ago. 

“It was when they erupted during a ‘red code’ police school practice drill seven years ago,” she said. 

“It  was outside anything I had ever experienced.”

Davis, who had retired from CPS before founding Southland College Prep in the far south suburbs in 2010, “always believed our first mission was not only to educate our students, but to make sure our students are safe.

“But now we were now practicing for the possibility of a live shooter entering our school,” she said.

“Although it was only a practice, it seemed real … seeming to change in an instant when the sound of bullets suddenly silenced our school — a building alive minutes earlier with student excitement and joy,” she said.

“I can still feel it as if it were yesterday. And even though intellectually I knew it was just the recorded sound of bullets not being fired in real time, the fear amongst students and teachers alike was instantaneous. It was stunning.

“Our job was to secure ourselves and wait for the police in anticipation of a three- to seven-minute arrival. All we could do was wait for help, but it became pretty intense as the gunshots rang out …until police finally breached our school building. 

“The relief was instant,” she said. “It was as if the building … the school … had suddenly come alive again!”

A 21st century visionary educator, Davis will be honored at Governors State University on the eve of Juneteenth, our national holiday celebrating the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States.

“We cannot allow ourselves to be paralyzed by isolated tragedies,” said Davis. “But rather we need to forge ahead bravely as teachers — and leaders our students will follow.”

An academician who “will always remember the first memory of a good conversation I had with my mother,” Davis, who began her teaching career in 1972, says: “I was really young while sitting on the living room couch with my dolls ... and telling my mother, ‘I’m a teacher.’

“My mother said: ‘If that’s what you want to be, you’ll be a good one.’ ” 

As so it came to pass. 


The O.K. Corral …

It’s an event!

Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman who was shot in the head and permanently injured by a gunman in a 2011 shooting rampage at a grocery store near Tucson, is bringing her fight against gun violence to Chicago.

Watch for Giffords to join political podcast pundit David Axelrod and former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to discuss gun violence in America June 22 at an event hosted by former Illinois state Sen. Bill Marovitz at his Carnivale restaurant in the Loop.

“Mike, now, more than ever, it’s time to stand up and be heard on the issue of gun violence in America,” texted Marovitz. “We need to send a loud message about how we feel about the tragic events that have occurred recently.”

The Ka-Ching Thing …

Iranian refugee/artist Davood Roostaei, a finger painter who made national headlines hoping to sell his monumental “Guernica” like war-themed painting for $1 million in an attempt to raise money for Ukrainian relief, has just been offered more and “might wait to sell it for more when it is finished,” said a PR spokesman. Stay tuned. 

Sneedlings …

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley, who suffered stroke-like symptoms years ago and was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital Wednesday night after feeling out of sorts, is still undergoing tests and was ostensibly champing at the bit to go home Friday. “As of this afternoon [Friday], he is still in the hospital, and it does not appear he will be released today,” said Jacquelyn Heard, a spokesman for the Katten Muchin law firm, where Daley works. ... Saturday birthdays: actor Peter Dinklage, 53, actor Hugh Laurie, 63, and football legend Joe Montana, 66. Sunday birthdays: basketball player Jrue Holiday, 32, and psychologist Jordan Peterson, 60.

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