I am saddened, as we all are, by the tragedy that occurred in Arizona. Of course, I am especially saddened by the death of Christina Green, a 3rd grader. I also grieve for the 22 year old who shot the people. What to make of this tragedy? How do we talk to students about it? What are the lessons?
I cannot explain this, but one thing I know is that this isn’t about the guns. It isn’t about the 22 year old who went on a rampage. It is about society. It also takes me back to other trageties, such as Columbine High School, and all other school shootings. We as a society need to become better at making connections with our young people. Kids need to feel they belong to something – a class identity, a sport, a youth group. It seems to me that as more information is locked down, private, we have less opportunity to help. When I began as a teacher in Cincinnati, Ohio, I was told about students’ home life, had to make home visits, etc. Now, we cannot even know why students get suspended from school. I understand the privacy, believe me, but as the information becomes more private, more teachers don’t get involved in kids lives. It is in this indifference that we miss the moments to become the connection. Our students need our academic attention, but more importantly, they need our believing in them, that someone is in their corner.
When will we get back to community? So, when kids get off track, there are people there to get them back on track. We have been talking about this since Columbine all these years ago. When will we in society learn that we will only get out of kids what we put in?