When I went through my graduate program for counseling back in 1982 and then again for administration back in 1996, we had a wide variety of courses. Some were prescribed, while others we could take if there was time and interest to take them. I had always known that no amount of coursework, whether in counseling or in administration, would actually prepare me for what I faced on a daily basis. No, it took sitting in that particular chair, in that office and actually doing the work. Learning by doing and learning by mostly watching and listening. Learning from others and learning by listening and watching others.
There were prescribed fire drills. Making sure kids and staff got outdoors quickly, efficiently and safely. That was a big deal. Rarely, but occasionally we had someone scribble a note or write graffiti on a restroom wall or stall about a bomb. So, we learned what we needed to do to keep kids and staff safe and we practice that. Throw in an occasional earthquake drill. That was the extent of it for the most part.
And then . . .
In 1999 an event took place at Columbine High School that changed the landscape of life in schools. Several shootings in between that one and Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012. And then an event took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day, just two days ago.
Thirteen killed at Columbine. Twenty 6- and 7-year-old students shot and killed at Sandy Hook. Seventeen shot and killed at Stoneman Douglas. A total of eighteen shootings on school grounds since January 1st, 2018.
Think about that for a moment . . . or not.
As a teacher, coach and counselor and now as an administrator, I’ve always preached that school is the safest place to be. It is a community. There is a certain amount of caring, compassion, concern, and respect that is in a school environment that might not exist outside in the “real world.” Or at least there should be, right?
I mean, parents drop off their kids or kids drive to school and the biggest worry should be “Is my homework done?” “Will I pass the test?” “I have a zit on my face, is anyone going to notice?” “Who will I ask to prom?” In the life of a kid, those are the big worries, right? I’m sure there are others . . . so many others.
I’m not going to get political, though I can easily run down that path. Lord knows I want to, but in the end, my opinion is my opinion and it might be the same or different from yours and we end up in a heated exchange and nothing happens except for frayed friendships and damaged, if not broken relationships. So I’ll hold my tongue . . . or my computer keyboard, as it were.
But . . .
Perhaps Consider that the only way things will truly change will be if we get back to caring about each other. Perhaps Consider that we might try to listen and to watch more. Perhaps Consider that we need to reach out to the lonely kid in the back of the room who is by him or herself a lot, too much. Perhaps Consider that we develop a healthy relationship with the kids we teach, the kids who walk the hallway, or who sit alone and eat lunch in the cafeteria.
Perhaps Consider standing in the doorway and greeting each kid who walks in expecting a great lesson, who walks in expecting not to be belittled or to receive a sarcastic comment. Perhaps Consider that each kid comes to us at a different place in life, from a different place in life, and Perhaps Consider that each kid carries with him or her some baggage, some hurt, some longing, an empty place that love and a smile can only fill.
Perhaps Consider that a teacher, the counselor, the administrator, the receptionist, the nurse, the cafeteria worker, the administrative assistant, the custodian might be the only person who can lift up, if even for a moment. Perhaps Consider what you and I can do. Perhaps Consider what you and I can do differently. Perhaps Consider what you and I need to stop doing. Perhaps Consider what you and I might do to help instead of hurt, to hold instead of push away, to accept instead of reject. And Perhaps Consider that we need to do this, not just with kids, but with each other. Yes, Perhaps Consider. Something to think about . . .
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!
To My Readers:
My fifth work of thriller/suspense fiction, Caught in a Web, is now available for preorder at http://bit.ly/2GtdsXL . If you purchase your book prior to the publication date of April 26, 2018, you may use the promo code: PREORDER2018 to receive a 10% discount.
You might ask, what is it about? Here is the jacket blurb:
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer.
Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives discover the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff.
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Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe