Guns at School
When my eldest daughter was in the 7th grade and walking to school every day, I was surprised one morning by her arriving home about 10 am. She was noticeably upset and marched straight down to her room, closed the door and lay on her bed. I gave her a moment or two and then proceeded to her room trying to make some noise to announce my arrival. She was not sad upset, she was angry upset and ready to let someone know her feelings about what had happened to her. A young man who was in many of her classes had come to school with a gun; during her history teacher’s planning period had confronted the teacher with the gun and a demand for better grades. The teacher was able to talk the boy through the situation; the boy was suspended and was sent home for a number of weeks. When the boy returned to school my daughter was assigned to be his partner to assist him in modifying his behavior. The major problem being that the teacher, who assigned my child to this young man, could not remember who my child was or even her name. Being assigned to another person to monitor his behavior infuriated the young man and my shy, quiet daughter felt angry and unsafe at the school and so she walked home and home schooled for the remainder of the year.
This event took place prior to Columbine and the other major school shootings, but it was a young person with a gun, who thought the gun would solve a problem he was having, and he was a person who felt powerless. We allowed our daughter to home school because when we confronted the school and the unsafe feelings my child had – because no one seemed to know her or her name – we were told that we needed to allow her to become a stronger person and gain more self-esteem by sending her back to school. My child was the problem because of her low self-esteem. HMMMMM???
I wanted to share this event not because it was about guns at school, but rather because it points out that when people feel safe in an environment and when they can share their feelings and ideas without blame or criticism they can learn and grow. Why was this boy and his troubled feelings not discovered earlier and why did someone not take him under their wing and guidance? Lack of money? Too many children in the classroom? Fear of Parental Attack? Wasn’t part of the curriculum? The boy had the wrong name/family? Teachers do have way too much to accomplish now that they are parenting large groups of children too? Where was the caring and insight? The community building?
And obviously the school did not know my quiet, amazingly talented, brilliant, and stubborn child so there was no community building or attention given to her also- even though her parents spent hours of time volunteering in the schools for their children. I guess she did not need it because she had caring parents at home and was learning community strength and values at church.
I firmly believe when every person is accounted for within a community and valued – no matter their skill level or abilities – the community is safe. Oh there will be earthquakes, and hurricanes, fires, flooding, ice storms and pestilence but the community is safe and the individuals can trust.
The bully can be tamed in this environment of safety.
What are other questions we need to be asking? Do other people believe that safety comes from the community and being valued?
It was the teacher who talked the boy out of using the loaded gun – communication and caring – I think we have a lot of repair work to do at home to get the guns out of schools and put the learning back in.