We have seen a rise in school violence in recent years that is honestly tremendously frightening and makes me feel uneasy, especially as a teacher.I encounter at least 160 students per day in the classroom, that does not include through the hallways and throughout the day. Prior to this year not once did I ever feel that any given morning would be the last time I see my family as I head to work, until now. I’ve been a middle and high school teacher for the past six years in Florida and there have been numerous changes from the nature of the students to the actual path of success these students endure since I graduated in 2003. There are more than enough issues that I deal with daily at work but wondering whether or not I would possible have to shield my students from bullets and possibly lose my life should never be an option.
On April 20, 1999 in Littleton, Colorado, two students went on a shooting spree that killed 12 students, one teacher, and wounded 20 others before turning the gun on themselves. At this time, the Columbine shooting was the worst high school shooting in U.S history. The nation was completely shook by these events and decided that action was needed to keep our schools safe. Within the next few years we endured shootings at Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and then Marjory Stoneman Douglas this past Valentine’s Day. Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 there have been 186 school shootings .When I saw that number and reviewed all of the schools my heart nearly dropped. Half of these school shootings were so hush hush that I have never heard of them. Sad. How can we as parents ensure that our school system will not only protect our students but teach them as well? Why is this becoming a popular trend yet with no call to action to take preventative measures? Why should teachers now be armed in schools?
As a teacher we have a moral and ethical obligation to protect students in the event a situation arises during school. Yet can we ever honestly be prepared for any situation but there are warning signs that both students and teachers can notice. First please pay attention to what kids are posting on social media. Students share literally everything through these outlets. In the recent Florida school shooting the shooter posted numerous times and made threats about his attacks on social media. Next listen to your kids. Many school shootings arise from instances of bullying. This is a conversation to have with your child in my opinion to reassure them of themselves and to understand that they are strong individuals. I don’t tolerate bullying in my classroom but it happens in school so letting your child know they are never a victim but a victor in the situation is a complete game changer.
My journey in education may actually end after this school year. With the stress that was lurking in the profession anyway and uncertainty of job security at the end of the year, I have no room to add on that I just may not make it back home one day because a student decided to get revenge. Kids these days are not the same as they were years ago and honestly I will probably home school my children. I hope that considerable changes are made within this system as soon as possible. Maybe that entails adding metal detectors, because yes kid do bring guns and knives on campus trust me, or having school – wide presentations on school violence. Either way our schools are supposed to be a safe haven for everyone not target practice.