Beloved Biology Teacher Harmed by Stray Bullet

Leela Moreno and Cate Bikales

Biology teacher Maggie Raczek was hit by a stray bullet fragment while asleep in her South Tabor home around 3 a.m. on the night of Sept. 13. Raczek was immediately taken to Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), where, according to an email from Principal Peyton Chapman, she has received “excellent care.”

Portland has seen a record number of shootings and homicides this year, with 705 shooting incidents through July, up 340 compared to the same timeframe last year, according to an article in the Oregonian.

The incident has sparked many feelings in administrators, teachers and students.

“​​I have so many conflicting feelings regarding the recent gun violence that has disrupted Ms. Raczek’s life in such an unjust way. I feel angry that this happened to her and that it has happened to so many other people in our city. I feel gratitude that she is alive and that she has had access to the best medical care. I am humbled by her strength and courage to survive a bullet wound during a global pandemic with such grace,” Chapman said. “I’m pretty sure I would struggle to be as strong as she has been. Even in her recovery, she is still thinking about others, her colleagues, her sub, her students.”

Senior Mia Knepper, a student in Raczek’s SL 3-4 class, shared similar sentiments. 

“I felt really sad and angry [when I first read the news] because Ms. Raczek is such a nice, good teacher,” she said. “I couldn’t believe that she would be a victim of gun violence in her own home.”

Since the incident, Addison Hummel has been teaching Raczek’s SL 1-2 class and

Richard Tinling has been serving as the permanent substitute for the SL 3-4 class. 

“Ms. Raczek has developed over the years amazing biology courses,” Tinling said. “Even in her absence she is keeping current on what we are doing (students and me). It is quite difficult to try and fill her shoes!”

The Lincoln community recognizes Raczek’s good heart. 

“Ms. Raczek is known at [Lincoln] as the teacher who is always looking out for and taking care of others. She is also a peace-oriented person, was a Peace Corps volunteer after college, is a vegetarian and she is one of the most fair-minded people I know,” Chapman said. “I think all of us feel pretty emotional that this has happened to her.”

Knepper offered a message to Raczek. 

“Ms. Razcek, I hope you’re doing well. We just want you to know that we miss you and your teaching, and thank you for always being there for your students,” she said. “We see your hard work and we appreciate you. We wish you a fast recovery.”

Students interested in reaching out to Raczek can drop off letters and cards in the main office.

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