I have at least 5 blogs posts ready to publish right now, but this is the one I need to post.
This probably will be my least cohesive/coherent post, and I apologize for that. This one is just for me. To process. And to cope.
1. On Friday, while we were ensuring our students were safe, my thoughts scrambled all over the place:
- Arapahoe HS is just over and down the street from us. We have former students there. We have siblings of our students who attend that school. We have friends who teach there. Keep it together.
- You have a job to do and protocol to follow. Thank God for that.
- Keep calm. The kids are reading you, and they need to feel safe.
- Remind the kids that they are safe.
- The faces of the people I know at Arapahoe keep appearing in front of me. I need to become unfeeling and “automatic” for a little while, so I can keep it together. Having protocol and well-defined procedures helps with that.
- How many more times will this happen in my career as an educator?
2. After details surface the next day, my thoughts are still rather scrambled, but also weary.
- My heart is so, so heavy for the families of the injured students. For Claire. For the family of the boy who walked into that school with a gun. For the students and staff who experienced it all. For the community who will begin the long process of attempting to heal.
- I worry that speculation and the need to blame will cause more problems than do any good.
- Nearly 3 years ago, I sat locked in an office with about 25 kindergartners wondering the same things as I am today. Feeling the same things I felt on Friday. A friend was lost that day. Another friend was critically hurt. More friends affected. I can imagine that they are reliving that day all over again… as are countless others who have gone through the exact same thing.
3. Last night, at a company event, my husband shared this with his co-workers:
- “As a teacher, she knows more people who have been killed or injured on the job than I do.”
- He’s a former marine.
4. There are a lot of people want to attribute tragedies to “evil.”
- What happened at Columbine was “evil.”
- What happened on September 11th, 2001 was “evil.”
- What happened at the Toronto mall, the Omaha Westroads mall, Millard South High School, the Aurora theater, Sandy Hook, and numerous other tragic events… was “evil.”
- (I’m not linking to those events. Most of you don’t need me to do so, because you’re well aware of them. That fact is tragic.)
- When we assign “evil” to these things, I feel we stop trying to DO ANYTHING ABOUT THEM. It takes the responsibility off our shoulders and blames some unseen demon, some “badness” in the world.
- Speculation is maddening… before details are even released, people assume they know what is going on. This is almost as bad as misplaced blame.
- Misinformation is spread like wildfire. Don’t fuel that.
5. I know that the main focus for a lot of people will be on gun control.
- I don’t own a gun, and I’m not going to take a stand one way or the other here.
- I DO want to know how a child (18 yrs old is still a child) is able to purchase a gun several months after being suspended for threatening someone’s life. (if the facts are wrong about these details, I will immediately correct them. This is what I know from reports so far.)
- I don’t know that there was any bullying in this case. From personal accounts I won’t share, it doesn’t seem to be the case.
- After the shootings in Aurora and Sandy Hook, more people started talking about mental health care. Social services. Has anything changed?
6. I have to focus on myself right now, right this very minute – not because ANY of this is about me – but because I need to process and cope before I walk into our school tomorrow. Before I sit with my students and help them return to as much normalcy as I can give them. Before we enter the week of many events where we’ll celebrate Christmas. And joy. And love. That’s what they need from me this week.
For anyone affected by Friday, my heart is with you. My prayers are with you. Maybe you were there. Maybe you had to relive another event all over again. I pray that you have someone to help you through your own method of coping.