So the violence that has spread through our Nation has reached our community–with a phone call telling us that our schools will receive extra patrol this week due to a threat.
That’s all we know.
Do we really want to know more?
Are we supposed to send our kids to school now?
Is this a test?
“Mom, I’m not going. One day of school isn’t worth it. I’ll be lying there shot on the floor thinking, ‘What a waste.’”
This is what it’s come to. Our children are casual with the possibility of being shot at school.
“Lock the doors!” parents holler.
But Sandy Hook was locked.
I do think we need to be cautious about threats, but I also think we need to be cautions of our fear. This is a society riveted by violence. Defined by it in many ways. Proud of it. We don’t want to encourage those who are prone to acting it out by titillating them with our hysteria.
Local educator, Dan Braden, just returned from the March on DC with his young family. He makes this suggestion to channel our angst:
It’s a great day to write your representatives at every level asking them to take action to reduce the number of weapons such as those used at Sandy Hook immediately.”
Another educator suggests we seriously ARM teachers in this bold statement that has been circulating around FB (from Mary Cathryn Ricker, the President of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers):
You want to arm me? Good.
Then arm me with a school psychologist at my school who has time to do more than test and sit in meetings about testing.
Arm me with enough counselors so we can build skills to prevent violence, have meaningful discussions with students about their future and not merely frantically adjust student schedules like a Jenga game.
Arm me with social workers who can thoughtfully attend to a student’s and her family’s needs so I. Can. Teach.
Arm me with enough school nurses so that they are accessible to every child and can work as a team with me rather than operate their offices as de facto urgent care centers.
Arm me with more days on the calendar for teaching and learning and fewer days for standardized testing. Arm me with class sizes that allow my colleagues and I to know both our students and their families well.
Arm my colleagues and me with the time it takes to improve together and the time it takes to give great feedback to students about their work and progress.
Until you arm me to the hilt with what it will take to meet the needs of an increasingly vulnerable student population, I respectfully request you keep your opinions on schools and our safety to yourself NRA… “
Kelly Salasin, 2013