There is a sadness and grief, that is prevalent now, after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It is deep and profound. Everyone feels it, no matter how far you are from Connecticut, it is palpable. We all feel so helpless. We all know, this can happen anywhere, at anytime.
I want to share some insight from my years as as long term substitute teacher for almost a decade.
First, is whats's called "lockdown". This is when there's a drill at school, almost like a fire drill, where teachers according to protocol, turn out the lights in the classroom, lock the classroom door, our children are instructed to get under their desks. The children are to be silent, motionless. We then wait for the principal or vice principal to give us an announcement after they check the classrooms and hallways to see that everyone had followed this protocol. I don't know if some of you reading this remember, the 50's and 60's with students hiding under desks in case the "enemy" had launched an atomic bomb in our direction. So now it is an enemy within.
Now, that's even more dangerous than whatever "yellowcake" Iran is cooking up in the Middle East.
My question in this scenario is, what does this do to a child's psyche? That they have to hide, for what reason? Why? This is acceptable now and it is wrong. Why is it okay to tell preschoolers, kindergartners, first graders, tenth graders, that we lock our classrooms and we have to "play possum" just in case, someone with a gun or assault weapons, comes into the school, like it's the Ok Corral and shoots up the place?
I think it comes down to the question of violence in our culture. Violence is the means to an end, guns go hand in hand with violence in our culture. Since the strong survive, if they have guns, so be it.
There is no damn reason our kids in 2012, should be hiding under desks and having to go through "lockdown" because there is no sane gun control or real help for the mentally ill.
The thing that breaks my heart is that I know, how we all try to prepare for the worst.
Does "lockdown"" save us from that?
As teachers, we try to create a safe place for all of our students. Why are our kids still hiding under desks, like it's the 1950's. What does that do to them? Besides making it seem "normal" that we have to lock our doors and hide because some madman is on the loose with not just one gun, but many guns.
Have we evolved at all?
What exactly are we teaching our kids? Oh, I know, lets teach them to lock the classrooms and hide, because we can't figure out how to make our culture a safer place. This is how they grow up, EXPECTING violence to happen at any moment. Because "lockdown" is the new normal.