Monday, December 17, 2012

On school violence

I am the school librarian at a K-12 public charter school, and am the public librarian at a school/public library connected to a public middle/high school.  I'm only at the charter school one day a week, but I know all the elementary kids, most of the middle school students, and a portion of the high school students.  And I love them, even if sometimes they can drive me nuts.  Last year when I was a chaperone on a field trip with my second and third graders, I was asked which child was mine.  I smiled and said, "I'm the school librarian - all of them!"

Last Friday, my talented K-7 students put on musical holiday programs.  They were wonderful.  It was a great afternoon.

After dinner with some friends, I heard the news and sat in stunned silence, watching the news coverage of a less happy school day for other elementary students.  That night, I started crying when I read more and could just picture my own little students, and my own beloved coworkers, as the victims of such a disaster.

There were many heroic teachers and staff, some of whom gave their lives.  Most teachers are heroes anyway, but the majority never have to face something like this.

But they need to be prepared, in case it happens.

This summer, the public school system that sort of employs me at the school/public library held some mandatory training that I want you to know about.  It's called active shooter training.  Teachers and other school staff get to learn what to do if someone enters the school and threatens lives.  The experience was amazing, and the knowledge I gained was the most useful and important I've probably ever gotten from a school in-service.  (It would also come in handy in the event of a zombie apocalypse, I swear.)

If you have school-aged children, ask your school administrators if the school has undergone active shooter training.  If not, insist that they do.  Pass this idea on to your friends who are parents, too.  Most schools cannot afford to hire guards; most police forces do not have the funding or manpower to provide security at schools.  Active shooter training can be cheap, or even free.  Training around here is provided by a former deputy, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't charge for it.

We are the underpaid people who love your children enough to protect them in the face of a gunman.  Make sure we know the best ways to do this.

For another take on school violence, my boyfriend has a pretty heartfelt opinion on using video games as a scapegoat.  Maybe you'd heard that when the murderer was initially incorrectly identified as his innocent brother, people searched the innocent brother's Facebook page and found that he liked video games like Mass Effect.  Blaming inanimate objects is always easier than addressing the real issue.

1 comment:

  1. Such training can only be a good thing, as it's certainly better to have it and never need it, than to need it and not have it.