Today, I write with a heavy heart.
I am an educator in the U.S. This week, we once again saw another mass shooting at a school. My heart breaks. My stomach churns. I cried as I watched the videos. Yet, our country turns against one another instead of coming together to find solutions to keep our kiddos safe.
A statistic was released this week that 18 school shootings have occurred since January 1, 2018. Then different stories came out about each of these shootings. Some shootings were due to suicides on school campuses but not in school hours. Others were from bullets hitting a window. A round of bullets being fired in a school parking lot. The stories continued. Here is the fact though: There have been multiple school shootings this year. That is appalling. For those screaming “There were only three, not eighteen!” Shame. On. You. There was one, more than one. It’s an issue. A large and scary issue.
As teachers, we go above and beyond to keep our kiddos safe. We will, and do, put our lives on the lines to save your child. We put our own families and children on the back burner so your kid is safe and learns in a welcoming and safe environment.
So why do I write this? For many of my international readers, I always value your opinions. Why? Simple:
- The UK has not had a school shooting since 1996.
- Australia’s last school shooting was in 1996.
- Germany, Finland, and Scotland have responded to attacks on schools with large policy changes.
- Switzerland has high gun ownership, but school shootings do not exist.
- In Germany, you must pass a rigorous psychological and medical exam if you are under 25 and trying to obtain a firearm.
Here are more facts:
- Parents are waking up this morning with their child no longer alive in their bed.
- Parents are planning their child’s funerals.
- Bright minds and futures were extinguished this week quickly and violently.
- The gunman legally bought his firearm, even after being flagged by the FBI for speaking about becoming a professional school shooter.
- Our children need to be safe at school.
As a teacher, I find myself reading comments from individuals saying that teachers are “sitting ducks” and “too merciful” if a gunman entered the school. Little do they know that teachers will fight to the death to keep their students safe. I’ve watched, heard, and read individuals fight more about guns and firearms, instead of discuss the issue at hand and speak intelligently and respectfully about ways to protect our future.
Our kids come to school with problems–abuse, financial burdens, hungry, homeless, hurt, and broken. They carry the worries of their parents and families. Some do not know where their next meal will come. These kiddos depend on our schools to keep them safe and away from harm. School shootings should not be added to their worries.
Whatever your stance may be, let’s get one thing straight: We must protect our kids at all costs. Instead of becoming divided on this issue, let’s strike a spark in our country to make a change and keep our children safe.
We have parents, teachers, and students afraid to go to school, worried if it will happen to them, and planning what to do if the event happens. Being prepared is a must. However, what can we do as Americans to get this issue under control? Other countries have, why can’t we? Let’s not forget this event and merely move forward. Let’s spark change.