Ukiah Unified School District

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School Desk Blog: Keeping Our Students Safe

Keeping Our Students Safe

In light of the latest mass school shooting in Florida, I feel compelled to discuss the safety of our school-aged children.

There have been 18 school shootings so far in 2018 and we are not even two months into the new year. As both a parent and a classified school employee, I am angry; I am sad, and I am very concerned for the safety of not only my child but all children.

Society has changed, and we need to evolve and change with it. Our children should not have to worry about their safety at school. Schools should be safe environments where students can focus on learning and growing without fear. I understand this is a complex problem that doesn’t have one right solution, but the conversations need to happen and actions need to be taken to protect our children.

The outspoken teens who survived the Parkland, Florida shooting may be the catalyst we need to have a national conversation. Their raw pain over the loss of 14 classmates, two staff members and one teacher and their fierce determination to do something about it are hard to ignore. They participated in a recent town hall meeting with Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson and Rep. Ted Deutch, where high school senior Ryan Deitsch asked, “We would like to know why do we have to be the ones to do this? Why do we have to speak out to the (state) Capitol? Why do we have to march on Washington, just to save innocent lives?”

Preparing our children to know what to do in an active shooter situation like we do with earthquake and fire drills is something that as a mother, I had hoped never to have to worry about. It is alarming that we have already had so many school shootings this year. That in itself could cause our children to fear for their safety while at school, and that is not the kind of learning environment any of us wants for our children.

How can we expect our children to focus on learning without fear with these statistics continuing to grow? To a child who hears about these incidents occurring in our country, it can be even more traumatizing. This trauma alone could change the course of their lives.  

It is my belief that one of the biggest contributing issues in these mass shootings is mental health, both diagnosed or undiagnosed. We cannot keep throwing medications and diagnoses around without truly treating the underlying issues. This is a recipe for disaster. Our society is ever-changing and the stresses on the minds and lives of people and children are far different today than they were even 10 years ago.

There are many opinions about gun control and the Second Amendment, but I think the issues at hand are far greater and require a much deeper conversation. These conversations need to happen and we need to get everyone involved, including our lawmakers, students, community members and parents. This is a societal issue that is threatening our children and their future.

It is no longer about what our rights are, it is about coming together to do what we need to do to protect our children. It is time for us to take the necessary steps to change the course of our children’s future.