Protecting Kids Starts at School
I think we can all agree on this: NONE of us want to see children being killed at school. Or their teachers for that matter. Right?
So, while we attempt to debate gun laws, mental health - all large, macro and extremely complex issues and make accusations of who's doing what and who's not doing enough, all I can think about is: What does the Middle School do to protect my daughter? What's the High School doing today so that my son is safe? Because in the end, I couldn't give a shit about waiting for politicians or Facebook users to figure this out. Ultimately, my kids' safety is NOT determined by Washington D.C. or your News Feed. It starts at their school.
So, it's my humble opinion that what CAN be done TODAY is that the school in your neighborhood can sit down and assess (if it hasn't already) it's present security measures. They can take this tragedy in Florida and re-create a similar scenario at their particular school to evaluate any vulnerabilities and make changes right away.
And you who care about this so deeply could walk over to your local school district offices and ask "What do you need from me to make these kids & staff safer?" And if they say funding for metal detectors, training for staff, school guards or renovations that eliminate line-of-sight, you hold an effing bake sale or approve the school levy when it comes on the ballot. Or, if you have skills that contribute to improving safety, volunteer to help.
Do any of you remember how airports changed dramatically in the wake of 911? Here in Seattle, Sea-Tac airport just completed a MAJOR renovation of the main terminal shortly before the 911 attacks that pretty much made that work null & void. New make-shift walls had to be erected to control the flow of passengers and to force everyone into the horrendous lines we have experienced in that airport for over 15 years now. My point is that the action was swift and immediate. We didn't end terrorism. But we did make traveling safer.
Because here's the deal - you can make guns illegal but someone will have something to hurt someone. Or a non-custodial parent will show up to abduct their child. Or an estranged spouse will be looking to ambush his wife who's a teacher. See my point? Tragedy is as much of a part of humanity as love.
And I'll tell you this - my kids (13 and 15) also don't care about the laws at this point. What keeps them from being afraid is feeling like their school is a safe place to be if all hell does break out. And I agree.
We can continue to debate on Facebook or at the local coffee shop or from the pulpit what the bigger issues are and who's to blame. But, in the end, I will gladly stand shoulder to shoulder on a sidewalk outside my kid's school with someone who voted differently than me or has different views about gun control if we can both look at each other and agree that no one is getting into that front door to hurt the children and adults inside. To me it's that simple.