I’m not sure how to write about the tragedy in Connecticut. There’s so much to say, and yet nothing at all. Even here in Jersey, we went into lockdown on Friday. At the time, us teachers didn’t even know what happened. We’d been at school all day, we hadn’t seen the news yet. When I first heard there was a shooting in a school somewhere in Connecticut I was, of course, shocked and saddened and horrified. I was also planning what Mondays lessons would look like. Character education is something that is focused on pretty heavily in my classroom, especially now as we work on a unit project focusing on bullying in our school. However horrified I was by the events in Connecticut, I was also very excited about the types of conversations it would spark with my middle schoolers and the lessons that could be taught as a result.
So when I learned that this particular school shooting was nothing at all like your textbook school shooting [isn’t it horrifying that we have a textbook school shooting?] – that bullying wasn’t the cause, that the shooter wasn’t a member of the school, and that it was an elementary school, no less – the entire scene took on a different kind of terrible.
We will discuss gun control. We will argue about mental illness. We will lock our classroom doors, and password protect our schools. We will hug our children tighter, and thank any and all higher powers for each day we have with the ones we love.
But we live in a world where a five year old, sitting down for story time in a kindergarten classroom, can come face to face with a gun. Is this really a world we are interested in living in?