Dear PSA Parents, Students, and Staff,
There is quite a lot of political talk about school shootings, gun control, the need for congressional actions, and so-on… However, what I want to discuss in this month’s blog is what’s beneath the surface of an active shooter. No amount of gun control or safety measures can address the cause of violence. A child who gets to a breaking point, where he/she is so sad and hopeless, or so filled with rage that they decide to bring a gun to school, is a child who has likely been crying out for help for too long. How can we evolve into a more loving and tolerant society? Not all kids feel included. Does this give them a right to fall off the deep end and commit a mass shooting? NO. But could it have been prevented? Perhaps.
There is a story I heard recently about a teacher who asked all her students to write her a weekly note. She would ask them to include how their week went, and most importantly, who they had lunch with and who their best friend(s) are. The kids who seemed not to have many friends were the kids she kept an eye on. The efforts this teacher made and the extra steps she took to make sure all of her students were included by their peers, most definitely had a lasting effect.
Teachers: Maybe you can try out something similar to what the teacher mentioned above did with her students.
Staff and Parents: Kids need to be taught tolerance. It’s in our nature to see differences and to fear differences. But to teach kids that differences are OK, and that we are all the same on the inside, is something we might not do enough. Maybe we think its common sense. But, so many kids feel bullied or like they are outcasts. How can we address this epidemic?
Students: Reach out to the students who sit alone at lunch. Reach out to the kids who seem “weird” and quirky; they are probably some of the most interesting individuals you will ever meet. Reach out to your peers who are shy. Reach out to the kids who don’t have any friends. If kids feel they are an important part of their community, perhaps the feelings of loneliness and hopelessness will begin to dissipate.
All we hear about now days is school shootings, fights, and violence. I hope this generation is the one that puts a stop to the madness. I hope these kids do not become desensitized to violence; but rather, see the sadness that violence brings. I hope this generation becomes an agent for change.
Principal Jennifer Stickel