Tonight I took my kids (ages 4 & 6) to see Santa. Their joy of seeing him was contagious. How could it not be? As a parent, this is one of the things I look forward to each year. No matter how fun it was this year there was this cloud of tragedy hanging over everything. The flags at half-mast. The TV in the mall food court showing pictures of beautiful children, the same age as my daughter, who will not be going to the mall to see Santa this year. My heart, as well as hearts throughout the world, have broken for these children and their parents. Even the Commander and Cheif couldn’t speak about this without keeping his composure. Words like “why” and “senseless” come to mind. Questions are asked that have no answers. All we can do is hold our children a little tighter.
As a teacher I have so much more going through my head. This is a teacher’s worse nightmare. We practice lock-down drills, but is that enough? Should we be teaching kids the importance of the escape and best way to do so? I don’t know if you can really prepare for this. I have spent a lot of time thinking about this last two days. It does shock me the number of people who were surprised teachers protected their students. There are reasons we are teachers, and it’s not because it is a job. I hope to goodness teachers out there wouldn’t think twice about what they would do. Even on their lowest days as a teacher (like last Wednesday was to me).
The second reaction I had as a teacher was thinking about the person who could do this. It’s not about guns, though I feel like this needs to be a wake up call to discussions on this and some laws need to change. And no teachers and school secretaries shouldn’t have guns either. Seriously dumbest comments that have come from this. But we need to think about the person. Teaching as many years I have, there are people I have come in contact that I would not be too surprised if they did something like this. And I keep asking myself “did I do all I could to help this person?” I wonder if we should increase the counseling that we have in schools. I wonder if we do enough to get kids out of abusive homes that have lasting effects on them. I wonder if we are too quick to punish and send off to alternative schools instead of getting them help they need. I’m so guilty of just hoping for punishment. Unfortuately the world we live in, teacher take on responsibilities parents ignore. Like it or not we do, so are we doing all we can? I don’t know if we are or not. No matter how bad the government wants to be, being a teacher is no longer making sure we teach the Common Core. There is so much more.
I’m not sure if we can prevent this from happening again. But I feel this is a wake up call to me, and I hope others, to do what we can to prevent it. It is time we stop saying “that’s not my job” and teach children to become positive citizens in our society.
As of now all we can do is remember and pray for the victims of this disgusting tradegy. We pray for their families. The emotional healing of those children who witnessed this, even though they escaped physically unharmed. We need to do something about tougher gun laws – since yesterday my area has had 3 terrible tragedies caused my gun violence, including a gunman in a hospital. And we need to make sure our children and students know what to do in a situation like this. Lastly, we need to show & tell our children how much we love them.