I've thought about what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary and I continue to grieve. I grieve for everyone. As I contemplate what is best I decided to blog. Mainly because I don't have all the answers. I feel as the building principal I'm supposed to have all the answers, but I don't. I felt writing things out would help me attempt to make sense of the senseless.
First, let me be very clear Sandy Hook was a safe and secure school. I would even say that some of the safety measures at Sandy Hook are well ahead of most schools. This is likely going to turn into schools locking down, policies changing, and communities demanding tighter security. I do not believe that is the solution. I agree safety and security are vital, but as I told a parent Friday, I will not waive the white flag and have inside recess everyday. What makes elementary schools unique is that they all have youthful exuberance, the kids are full of life, and most kids live in their own bubble. I for one do not want to burst that bubble by radically changing policies and taking the youthful fun out of elementary schools.
Second, if we are truly honest with ourselves most people hurting right now are adults. I believe the pain is warranted, and I also believe that kids around the country need the adults to be steady, strong, and positive. I have a seven year old, the last thing he wants to talk about is this. He simply wants to know that mom and dad love him and that we will do everything in our power to keep him safe. Kids need reassurance now more than ever. A smile, a hug, a positive comment, and the steadiness of all of us to reassure them that we will protect them.
Finally, the brutal truth is we will never forget Sandy Hook. We will never forget Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, and all the other horrific events that have happened. This is a time that we all grieve in our own way. We lean on each other for support. We remain steady for our kids. We reassure everyone that school is a safe place. Most of all, we trust in our faith. There is no making sense of senseless acts. I simply pray and try my best to be the "rock" that my school, students and family need me to be.
Articles that you may find useful:
There is no lesson plan for tragedy
How to talk to kids about a school shooting... (I strongly believe this is a parent issue)
Talking to kids about scary things
Teaching through Tragedy
This is why we do what we do.