Thursday, February 15, 2018

Today, I cried.

Tears fell from eyes this morning as I drove to school.  The radio played the audio recording of a Snapchat from Florida's high school shooting yesterday.  It was the sound of children dying.  It was the sound of fear and terror.

Every school shooting since Columbine has caused me to breathe deeply, pause, and consider exactly how crazy it is that this type of evil finds it's way into the most innocent of places.  As a career educator, nurturing students and teaching them how to be kind human beings has always been my first priority.  Schools should be safe beyond worry.

This morning, all I could think about was the possibility of my own two, wonderful children heading to a seemingly safe campus that could possibly be the next place featured on CNN.  My two boys, who have bright and happy futures ahead of them, could find themselves amidst gunfire at school.

Yesterday, at least 17 families learned that their own children would not be coming home.  In the past few years, school shootings have killed an unfathomable number of children.  Is there anything I can do to keep my own kids safe?

Sadly, there are no guarantees for safety at school.  We all wish we could guarantee a safe childhood education.  We can't.

So every morning, we send them off to school with an, "I love you."  More and more in recent years, we hope it is not the last one.

And the gun-control argument?  With all due frustration, it really doesn't matter what side you agree with.  School shootings are followed by countless thoughts and prayers and news reports.  Then the outrage and screams for better school safety fade away and no significant or discernible change has been made.  This pattern has repeated itself enough already.  Things are the same after a school shooting (except, of course for the family and friends of the victims.)  The arguments for and against gun control provide the rhetoric that empassions folks, but things do not really change.  Schools will review their practices and policies.  Special interest advocates will get 15 more minutes in the public eye.  And this time, a Florida community will never be the same.

But a few weeks from now, across the rest of the country, things will be the same until the next school shooting.

How many tragedies will it take until we do SOMETHING different?  Should we ban all gun sales in the US?  Should we train and arm teachers?  Should we significantly improve our mental health care system?  Should we fence our schools and pay for numerous armed guards? 

I am not writing to advocate for any, one potential solution, but I can tell you that I want SOMETHING different.  I do not want more children to die.  I do not want to worry that my children have a greater chance of getting murdered at school than elsewhere in this crazy world.