I have to admit. I'm stressed. As I hear of yet another school shooting this week, I am also heartbroken. As a teacher who was just a few miles away when Columbine happened, it hits me hard every time another school shooting happens. It's hard to see how to end these tragedies.
Yes, we need to have some reform around gun laws. I do believe there are people that shouldn't have guns simply because they are not emotionally stable. We need better background checks. And yes, I believe that assault rifles should not be available. However, that alone will not solve our troubles. Let's face it. We are in a fight for the hearts, minds and souls of our kids in America. It's good vs. evil and good must win. Every child matters. Every life matters.
After the Parkland shooting, changes started being made at my son's high school. The gates have gone up a bit higher. The security has tightened. We are fencing our kids in tighter and tighter. It doesn't make me feel my child is any safer. If anything, it feels less safe. Teachers are on edge and my son says the campus has started to feel like a prison.
I have no idea how to go about winning this battle for good. But, I do know that until we address the disconnect, loneliness and apathy so many of our students feel, the violence will not stop. At it's core, this is not really a gun problem. It's a heart problem. We have a lot of hearts to heal and to protect.
That one kid that has been driving you crazy all year, fight for her. The quiet one that fades into the background, fight for him. Don't let them go ignored. Be the one who sees them and hears them. We can't solve the problems so many students come to school with. But, we can make school a place students want to be every day. School should be a place all students feel seen, heard, understood and cared about. If we can manage just that, it's a good start.
Thank you, my teacher friends, for all your do every day. You matter and so do your students.