There really are no words to describe the horror of this senseless incident that occurred on December 14th at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. First and foremost, my prayers for comfort go out to the families who lost loved ones whether they were young children or educators. I also wish for a speedy recovery for anyone injured in the stabbings in a China public school were someone wielding a knife injured 22 students and an elderly woman on the same day as the Connecticut shootings. Thank G-d there was no loss of life there, but both incidents together make me wonder…how can we protect the children in our schools?
On that same morning one of my own students, who has a history of problems, lost his temper for very little reason, and he started throwing and kicking things around the room. Thank goodness no one was hurt, but imagine what damage he could have caused had he come to school with a weapon? We had to involve the police with this incident…it was just a short time before I heard about the shootings. It made me wonder about my own safety, the safety of my co-teacher, and of course, the safety of the other students. Unfortunately, I don’t have any answers at this point…just more questions.
One thing that saddens me about the entire event is that I see people from different sides of various issues use these senseless deeds as a means of promoting a political agenda. There may be a time to discuss issues around gun control and mental illness, but for right now everyone’s efforts should be on helping people deal with cataclysmic loss. These are important issues that deserve our attention, but not now. We should be trying to find common ground rather than arguing about who’s right or wrong. It is self-serving and not productive or comforting to the survivors. People should have empathy. If you were the parent of a kindergartener who was tragically killed, or even a child who escaped and had to witness the mayhem, would you want to see people using the event to advance political agendas moments after the story hit the news? Of course not. Our first and last thoughts have to be with the families. Before we post anything in a public forum about this topic, we should think—how may this affect the survivors if they see it?
Someone posted a quote on Facebook from Fred Rogers (aka Mr. Rogers) that I think is appropriate and helpful, and it answers a question that one of my fellow classmates in my M.Ed program asked, “…where is the good when this happens in our school?” Mr. Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” It is the helpers and heroes in any disaster that remind us that there is good in the world.