We Can't Leave School Safety In Hands Of Legislators Who Don’t Understand The Plight Of Educators And Students
This massacre should be the last reminder we need to make the necessary changes to ensure school safety.
May 27, 2022 at 4:28 pm
Every time a school goes on lockdown for whatever reason — right before the principal comes on the intercom explaining very little but causing immense fear and hysteria — students are being students. Teachers are teaching. Students are learning.
In the case of the Robb Elementary School students, in Uvalde, Texas, many of them had just been celebrated for their amazing accomplishments. They had just clapped for those who earned perfect attendance, honor roll and student of the year awards. They had burst into uncontrollable laughter at the silly awards the teachers had provided to their peers to acknowledge their individual personalities. They had just eaten cookies and drank punch to commemorate the end of the year. Some of them had kissed their parents goodbye and waved “see you later.” Many of the parents had just taken an early lunch break to speed 20 minutes from their jobs because they promised they would be there for their kids.
Obviously I wasn’t at the school, but as a former State of Texas Master Teacher in Dallas’ South Oak Cliff neighborhood (one of its most impoverished areas) I have sat through many lockdowns with my students — and it is immensely debilitating. In seconds your whole life is flashing before your eyes. You and your students are moving in a fury to push desks and chairs to the door to create an obstruction, praying you’ll make it challenging for an intruder to injure or kill anyone in the room. Teachers are trying to prevent students from alerting their parents, to avoid more chaos than parents can understand in the moment. And wonder what the impact will be on the people you might leave behind if caught in the line of fire.
I’m writing these words because everyone needs to sit with this excruciating pain and truly understand this incident from the perspective of those that have endured this scenario before. We must recognize the importance of making significant legislative changes in our society. We cannot continue to wait to design and implement impactful school reform. The Uvalde, Texas, community is reeling because our lawmakers have not been intentional about passing legislation that will make it extremely challenging to ever shake our country like this again.
We live in a society that is more obsessed with the medical tools a doctor uses to perform an abortion than the fatal tools an unhinged gunman uses to perform an annihilation of young children and educators. If this doesn’t blatantly demonstrate to us that there are pressing changes we need to make, then we are totally lost as a collective.
This massacre should be the last reminder we need to make the necessary changes to secure schools and ensure they are safe for everyone.
This year has been coined “The Great Migration,” in education. Teachers are leaving classrooms in droves across the United States. Please understand that the Robb Elementary School slayings just added even more teachers to the migration list because they are now in survival mode. No one wants to continue to work in a profession that doesn’t pay them well, secure them properly or provide the necessary mental health resources for them and their students.
Teachers and students deserve justice and it is up to us as a society to be a part of designing and implementing the justice necessary. We cannot leave the safety of schools in the hands of legislators who don’t commit the time to understand the plight of educators and students in America.
For those of you who refuse to let these brave children and teachers simply become hashtags and want to make real change, here’s what we can do: