I was a first year teacher when the shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado happened. I am currently in my 24th year of teaching. In nearly a quarter century, how many children have been murdered in their classrooms and hallways and cafeterias? How many families have sent their children off to school in the morning, never dreaming they wouldn’t see them again? How many children have watched their friends die? How many schools have closed for days or weeks or forever after a man with a gun stalked those inside?
I am unable to function tonight. After all these years, I don’t know why this school shooting is the one that has sent me to bed, curled up in the fetal position, without any clue how I’m going to go to school tomorrow and teach my third graders. There have been countless school shootings in my 24 years of teaching.
There have been countless school shootings.
And our response to this? Lockdown drills during which we huddle our young students in a corner in silence. While they crowd together, in the dark, adults travel the halls, rattling doorknobs. We suggest that teachers should be armed so that they can defend those in their care.
Those responses have done nothing to keep our children safe.
This map, from Everytown Research and Policy, shows 77 incidents of gunfire on school grounds in 2022. The red dots show incidents that resulted in deaths, the blue dots show incidents that resulted in injuries, and the gray dots show incidents that did not result in injuries or death.
How is it possible that so many people will fight so hard to ensure that pregnant women carry pregnancies to birth, regardless of the danger that might exist for the mother or the child, but have so little care for the children in our schools? How is it that guns are a more important ‘right’ than the right to life, liberty, and happiness for the students (and teachers) in our schools?
Just this morning, one of the slides from our school social worker was this:
What are we teaching our children?
Hi Jen, I’m sharing your heart ache over this. I just don’t understand.