Note: This is not a political statement either for or against guns, just something worth noting if you teach children.
Most of my students are either young and blissfully unaware of the shooting that ocurred last week, or they are slightly older and are discussing it with their friends. I had one student who was very concerned about the shooting the day after, but particularly by a statistic the kids at school were talking about: that there have been 18 mass shootings this year (or some say 18 school shootings this year).
While it is true that there have been 18 incidents of a gun being discharged on school campuses, they are not mass shootings or what we tend to refer to as a “school shooting”. This particular statistic includes things like:
- A man parking in the school’s parking lot and killing himself.
- Accidental discharge of a gun at a military high school.
- Accidental discharge of a police officer’s gun
- A teenager committing suicide in the bathroom
- A personal dispute being continued at a football game after school.
- USA Today has an article listing all events.
Yes, these things are horrible! I wish they didn’t happen! (Notice I’m not proclaiming a solution or attempting to explain why they happen).
It is important that we, as teachers, are honest with our students and do not hype them up or cause fear. They look to us, one of the few adults in their lives they probably trust, for guidance and reaction. If we behave as though we are terrified, the kids will be even more so. They are already upset by what they hear on the news and from their friends, and I believe that we have a duty to reassure them that they are safe. The likelihood of a student being involved in a situation like the one in Parkland is very low. A student is more likely to be struck by lightning or hit by a car.
Whatever your view politically, please, try not to scare the children.