Friday, December 14, 2012

My Thoughts on the Tragic Events of Today

Like everyone else, I was completely shocked and saddened by the events that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut this morning. Upon hearing of the events, I was in class with my 5th grade students. I immediately thought of the 500+ students that were attending class in my school, and how, as teachers and educational professionals, we are tasked with keeping these students safe (among the many other things we are responsible for).

But how do you keep things safe in the face of such evil actions? Are schools doing enough?

My school is what you might define as rural, but we're definitely not out in the middle of nowhere. We exist in the oldest area of a city with 100,000+ people living in it, but we are out in the quieter part of town. We've always taken our safety for granted, and have never had a major incident, like most schools in the country. The shootings that took place this morning are tragic, and shocking. Almost every person who comes to this blog is a teacher (or you're probably in the wrong place, I cater to and write directly for teachers), and one thing I know about teachers is that they love children, and would die for their students. Some of our own died today protecting their students, and are heroes for that.

The children who died today leave this earth never realizing their full potential, their little lives robbed from them.

Now, how do we proceed? Obviously students will be attending school on Monday all across the nation, and many of them will be in fear, fear that grows out of watching the news and hearing adults talk about the shootings at Sandy Hook. What is our job as teachers?

On Monday, I'll address school safety and our roles at schools on an "if it comes up" basis. If students enter the building scared, it will be addressed. You never can be too careful when your entire job revolves around the fact that you are a de facto guardian of other peoples children for 7 hours per day.

On a personal note, I feel so much pain for the parents, families, and surrounding community that felt the loss of those children and adults who died this morning. In the coming months, there will obviously be talks that center on the politics of gun control, school safety, and mental health services. I don't think the time for those talks is now. Now, it's time to mourn the loss. My two year old son is sitting next to me right now, and I can see my seven and ten year old sons sitting on the sofa in the next room, and I cannot fathom the pain that I would feel if they were taken from me.

My heart goes out to all affected.

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