Can someone please tell me what’s going on out there, because I’m about to lose it. Today I received a text from my daughter no parent wants to receive. “There’s a school shooting, in lockdown. Safe.” I was one of the lucky parents. My daughter was safe and in fact, stayed safe. She was able to communicate to us throughout the ordeal. I was beside myself. I had no idea if it was active shooters or a lone gunman. As it turned out, it was a lone gunman who ended up shooting his victim in the back. They were sixteen.
This post is not all about today’s horrifying experience. It’s about a series of events that is leading me to question adults, the school system and the very nature of our country.
As a high school principal (I know, I’ve mentioned that a few times), I have a unique perspective when it comes to dealing with children and parents. Everyone is angry. Alright, I’m exaggerating a bit. There are people who are actually happy and grateful for the services we educators provide but for the most part, there’s an underlying, simmering agitation, which translates to anger and bitterness. It’s hard to tell a child to move his seat without him biting a teacher’s head off. There are kids who think it’s perfectly fine to argue with an adult, even if they’re unequivocally wrong! I’ve witnessed horrifying videos all over the country of parents at the bus stop, waiting to confront and fight another child who “messed with” their kid. There are actually parents who will physically fight, even if their child is wrong. How is this positive parenting? Is your mom going to show up at your boss’s office ready to kick ass because he said something you didn’t like? Are you going to fight your boss in the office because he gave the promotion to a co-worker? Why aren’t we teaching better communication skills?
How are we being responsible adults if we allow ourselves to be the friend and not the mom or dad? Hey parents, it’s not a good idea for your suspended child to get the new Jordan’s or a phone upgrade the day after he cursed out a teacher, bullied another child or cheated on a test. It’s okay for your child to be angry at you. It may mean you’re doing your job. We are raising a group of Millennials and Generation Z’ers who can’t communicate their thoughts or feelings (unless it’s in a text), can’t take criticism and have temper tantrums because someone bumped into them by accident.
Our kids are feeding off of social media, video taping fights, and bullying. The worst part is adults are standing idly by. Instead of helping a child who is being beaten up, kids are video taping the beating on their phones. I’d call that pretty desensitized. I’m by no means Mother Teresa, I’ve made my share of mistakes but I can say one thing is true. My kids were not allowed to be rude, had to address others with respect and knew that if a teacher EVER called this house to discuss their negative behaviors they were dead. Are we too far removed to ever return to a place where adults are adults and children are children? Are kids angry because they don’t have perimeters and guidelines and they’re out of sorts? Are they trumped up on sugar and carbs? Do they have undiagnosed mental illnesses? Yes, yes, and yes.
Educators cannot raise your child. We cannot receive a student at sixteen and undo everything, that has happened at a previous school or erase the trauma the child may have been subjected to. That’s where parents come in. Kids who are out there robbing houses, breaking into cars, holding up people with guns and doing very little school work need your attention. It’s not normal to bring a gun to school to solve a problem, and what makes a child go that far? At some point we’re going to have to start making some changes. This climate of darkness and rage has to come to an end. These are very bleak times, what’s the plan?