|Finding Solutions to Violence at School
Teachers are that way. They not only recognize and seek to develop potential in their students, they also have an eye for the possibilities within that little plastic cup and other seemingly insignificant objects. Perhaps the kids can make a craft with them. Maybe they could grace a bulletin board. The cups would make great eyes in a vegetable arrangement! Storage containers? Math helpers? Well, you get the idea. Teachers tend to get creative on tight budgets.
|Teacher Talent That Focuses on Education - Photo by University of Pittsburgh at Bradford from Wikimedia Commons|
But don't include marksmanship in the mix. Teachers watch out for student safety every day. The near misses rarely go viral on the Internet. Four days before the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, a 9-year-old brought a loaded handgun to my child's school. He carried it around in his bookbag all day, attempting to show the gun to my daughter as she was leaving for the car rider line. But she was not sure what he was saying and needed to leave.
That child's intentions were not the same, but the potential for disaster was too close for comfort. A teacher noticed and immediately reacted. No one was hurt at our elementary school. I am incredibly grateful for that.
We could install high fences, metal detectors, high-tech cameras, and automatically locking doors. We could put the kids in bullet-proof vests and create elaborate systems keeping more people out than those who intend harm. We could make sharpshooting a job requirement....but what if this simply provides access to a weapon past all those safety measures?
|Teachers Who Want to Teach - Photo by Lsiryan at Wikimedia Commons|
Those who target innocent people typically did not become that way overnight. The stigma of mental illness is still a huge barrier to overcome. Quality, holistic, creative mental and behavioral health services backed by solid evidence-based practice and research are lacking in our country. Many of the best programs are unaffordable, inaccessible, and/or overwhelmed, leaving families to try to deal with the situation on their own, with rapidly depleted, inadequate resources. These families often deal with policies, red tape, and shaming societal attitudes that victimize and isolate them further.
|How to Make Schools Safer - Photo by Mike Miller at Wikimedia Commons|
We now have 26 new reasons to address this issue with resolved intent. Let those lives create change that works. I don't have all the answers. Perhaps we as a nation should look at that medicine cup in a new light. Our children's future may depend on it.
Readers may also wish to see my musical tribute to the Sandy Hook Elementary School survivors entitled The Day Our Nation Cried. Find more educational resources at the Student Survive 2 Thrive site map.