Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Things Like This Don't Happen Here
Chardon High School Shooting: 2 Dead
But unfortunately today, they happen everywhere. And even in your own community. You can't run from it. This isn't our high school. But it's in a neighboring community and only about 15 miles down the road. It's close enough that you know families in that school or people in the community. It's close enough that you realize that YES these types of things can happen here.
Chardon High School is considered one of the better public schools in the area. It's a mix of people from different socioeconomic back grounds. To have a student bring a gun to school and gun down 5 class mates is unthinkable. But you have to think about it. Even if it didn't happen in your area. It can happen.
We can't live in fear but we have to live in awareness.
The shooter was allegedly a bullied kid with a bad home life. He had problems. He was at Chardon High School to pick up a bus that takes him to a school for "at risk" kids. Clearly people knew he had some issues. But can you ever really know the extent of those issues? Lots of kids are bullied and they don't bring guns to school and kill kids. Why was this kid so desperate that he felt he had to kill someone? Were there warning signs missed? Or was he just touched by evil and no one could have seen this coming? I'm not sure we'll ever know the answers to these questions.
How safe is your child's school? Would they know what do to if a gunman opened fire in the school? Chardon High School and law enforcement did a fantastic job under the circumstances. They had drills for this type of situation and the teachers and students jumped into action and did what they had trained to do. Law enforcement quickly jumped into action and secured the site so that EMS could get in quickly and help the injured.
I remember having fire drills and tornado drills when I was in school. We never had to have a drill for an "active shooter". As sad as that is, clearly it's necessary in today's school climate.
My heart breaks for the families of the dead students. And my prayers go out to the injured, the students at the high school, and the entire community of Chardon.
Luckily my kids were shielded from most of this yesterday. But they did see a small piece of news on a television at an after school activity. They had questions and we answered them the best we could and in a way that would make sense to a seven and ten year old. We've been leaving our television off and won't have it on for a while. I don't want to scare them but we also know that this is their reality today and we need to discuss it in an age appropriate manner.
For more ideas on how to talk to your children about violence, see the Washington Post article The Answer Sheet: How To Talk To Kids About Violence
For some ideas on how to keep your kids safe at school see What Parents Can Do To Keep Kids Safe At School from the National Crime Prevention Council , Strategies To Keep Schools Safe, and Educators Guide to Cyberbullying, Cyberthreats and Sexting by Center for Safe and Responsible Use of the Internet.
It happened here. It can happen anywhere. I pray it never happens again, but in the mean time, we need to teach our children to be aware, to not be afraid to tell if they hear or read someone making a threat, and probably most importantly we need to teach our kids to be kind to everyone.