Thursday, February 15, 2018

When will it end?

 Here we go again.  Getting old, isn't it?  Murder in the schools.  I'm so sick of this it's beyond words.  A friend of mine recently wrote her thoughts regarding this on Facebook.  I obtained permission from her to reproduce her post here.  One of her followers asked, "Where do we start?"  Many people expressed the same sentiment.  I'll tell you where.  In the voting booth, that's where.  The men and women, mostly republicans frankly, who are bought and paid for by the NRA have got to go.  Period.  Then and only then will we begin to see some progress.  In the mean time here's the post I referred to.  Feel free to comment if you have any thoughts of your own.  I will publish opposing arguments that are well-written and respectful (

"Another mass shooting at an American school.
Another time for “thoughts and prayers.”
Another community impacted by trauma that will last their life-times, struggling to make sense of a senseless tragedy.
Another day of on-going news coverage of horror and interviews with the survivors and their families.
Another “day after” when the best of humanity is demonstrated after the worst of humanity is exposed.
Another troubled man armed with a legally purchased AR-15.
17 are dead.
14 are injured.
We will mourn. Broward County will come together and lean on each other through these next difficult days, weeks, months, and years. They will attend 17 funerals and support the 14 injured. They will hug each other and hold their children closer. They will rally around one another and will now identify time as “before” and “after”. Their community will be overcome by the nation’s love and prayers and generosity. Those of us who want to reach out to ease the pain of this forever-injured community will do anything. We will send cards and hang banners and light candles and hold vigils and send food and knit prayer shawls and send school supplies and offer comfort animals and send teddy bears and conduct meal trains and buy staff and First Responders lunches for months. We will do anything to provide a modicum of comfort to them as they navigate through their grief.
And we, the country, will rally behind Florida. Moments of silence will be offered at professional sporting events and concerts. Flags will fly at half-staff. The nation may declare a day of national mourning and the Pope may even publicly pray from the Vatican for the victims.
In the days and weeks that will follow yesterday’s massacre we will be a little kinder to each other. We will pay for a stranger’s coffee or meal. We will look each other in the eye more and smile. We will hold the door open for others and commit random acts of kindness. We will do what we need to do to help heal the bruise each of us now has on our hearts.
They, Broward County, will need to find a new school for the surviving students and teachers to attend for the rest of the year. And there will be a moving company that will pack their desks and their books and their technology and their files, and they will distribute them wherever their satellite school is set up. Staff and volunteers will help re-establish a “school” and will unpack their belongings in an effort to create some semblance of a new learning community. And the community will have to decide how to best “repair” Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Yesterday, Florida Senator Marco Rubio tweeted, “Today is that day that you pray never comes.”
President Donald Trump tweeted, “No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.”
But these days continue to come Senator Rubio. There have been almost 300 school shootings since the tragedy that forever changed my school community, Newtown, in 2012.
And we teachers and our students haven’t felt safe President Trump. For years. Since Columbine in 1999. In fact, there have been 18 school shootings this year alone. And it is only the middle of February.
We have done everything we can to help prepare for and prevent these tragedies. Schools and districts have increased police presence, armed security guards, and security officers. ERT (emergency response teams) have been established.
When I first began teaching in 1994 we held fire drills and high-wind emergency drills in my elementary school. That was it. We still hold those drills, but now we also have drills to respond to threats within the community, outside the school, and inside the school. Children practice these regularly. We teach our students to huddle together and to be very quiet. And then we tell them that they will be safe. But time and time again breaking news sheds doubt on that promise. And this American teacher wonders how much longer we can keep up the ruse.
Schools have increased their focus on mental health. We have school counselors, school psychologists, mandated social-emotional curricula, kindness initiatives, safe-school climate committees and school climate surveys for children, parents, and teachers. We are doing as much as we can within our purview.
Yet this continues to happen.
The common denominator in these mass shootings: a deranged male and an assault rifle. It begs the question, “How can individuals with these anger issues be allowed to purchase these weapons?”
Yet, Senator Rubio voted NO to help the Senate defeat the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013. A law which would have required background checks for all firearm sales and expanded school safety grant programs. A bill more than the majority of Americans supported. So how can Mr. Rubio vote no to this legislation in one breath and in the next breath tweet that he prayed this day would never come?
President Trump’s administration overturned a rule put in place by President Obama’s administration that would have heightened the scrutiny of mentally impaired people who seek to purchase a firearm. Trump’s 2018 budget called for a 23% reduction in the mental health services block grant. How can he, our President, call for the safety of American schools one day, and yet continue to sabotage any small steps made to ensure that safety?
Our leaders need to stop talking out of both sides of their mouths.
Our schools should be places ONLY of learning, of community, of inspiration, and of implied well-being. But they can never wholly be until SOMETHING is done to STOP mass shootings in schools. I urge all Senate and House members and the President of these United States to do SOMETHING, other than think and other than pray, to STOP the violence. Support SOMETHING, rather than inaction. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
#enoughisenough #tomorrowsnews #prayforparkland"

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