No Longer A Safe Haven.

I can’t believe that today I’m reading another news article about a fatal school shooting in our country. My thoughts are with the family of those affected at the small school in Tennessee.

What has happened to our schools? If any place should be safe for children outside of the home, it’s their school. This didn’t happen at a big, crowded school in a seedy neighborhood in a large city. No, this shooting took place at a relatively rural area of Tennessee. What is going on?

I graduated from school almost 20 years ago and I know much has changed during that time. Students have access to more information than ever before, via the internet, cell phones, instant messenger, all of it. Heck, as a student I was very excited when the school received 30 donated televisions, all black and white, so that we could have a “multimedia” experience in the classroom. The most violent video game that I remember from my teenage years was maybe Frogger and that was because the large pixels on the screen that vaguely resembled a frog went “splat” when a vaguely shaped truck ran over it. Today there’s video games featuring a huge amount of violence including drive by shootings, rapes, robbery… is this really necessary?

Sometimes I wonder if not much has changed after all. Maybe I was sheltered. Perhaps I never had access to violent games, movies, etc. of my generation so that’s why I never had the urge to shoot anyone at school. If that’s the case, then that’s just more testimony to the fact that my parents did a great job raising my sister and I.

In the past, I’ve joked that school violence can be blamed on photocopiers. With the departure of the old “ditto machines” (remember handouts with purple ink?), teachers and students are no longer getting high on the fumes. Bring back the ditto machines!

If it were only that simple.


  1. It’s hard to say what is causing this tragedy, but it seems to me that there is a lot of rhetoric of hate and violence in our world today, from music lyrics to fundamentalist religious preaching, that goes unchallenged. Not enough people are standing up to say it’s wrong to put down women or bully people who are weaker than you. Not enough people are challenging the cliques in the classroom or proclamations of superiority of one culture or religious belief over another. There aren’t enough Atticus Finch like characters (from To Kill a Mocking Bird) encouraging our children (and us adults) to “walk around in the other persons shoes” before you judge them, to think critically about what they’re about to say before they say it, look deeply into their own souls before they choose violence.

  2. It’s a lot of things. Kids have been bullied since the beginning of time. The difference is now they can get even. They can go on the internet and get ideas, make plans, build bombs. couple that with increased images of violence on TV, movies,games, etc…and kids are desensitized. Follow up that with homes where mom and dad are at work all the time and Junior is unsupervised and we have a completely different world than when we were teens.

    Study after study on all the school shooters in recent histoys shows only a couple commen threads. No, they were not all victims of bullying, YES, they were mostly on meds. Oh yes. That is true. ( our government paid for a long term study to try and “profile” school shooters. They published a report last year that was presented to schools accross the country, I attended a conference on school safety that an FBI profiler that worked on that report spoke at) Outside of that, there is no “profile”.

    If parents would check up on kids, look into their backpacks, snoop around the room and talk to their kids a little more, this may happen less. The average kids has 10 min of face to face time with their parent.

    Ultimately, it is not the schools that are unsafe. Schools have so many safety features now, so many many govt. regs they have to follow under the “Safe Schools Iniatitive”. It is not the schools, it is families and kids in crisis. 1 in 4 kids is in need of mental health services. 25%. What does that say?

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