Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Kansas City Democrat offers thoughts on school shootings
When I was a young teacher, just starting out, it was difficult to get a teaching job in the Kansas City area. My degree was Music Education/Music Therapy so the field was pretty limited. Eventually I got a job offer to teach music & p.e. at our neighborhood Catholic school. My pay was insurance benefits. I proved that I had good classroom management skills, though, and the following year was offered a position as a third grade classroom teacher. It was a difficult group of students, and my principal, Rose Wilson, was very supportive in mentoring me. I remember her telling me that I could teach another 30 years and not encounter such a challenging class of students. I believed her. She was close to retirement and had a solid reputation for motivating students to achieve to high standards.
Thirty years later I was standing in front of my colleagues at Santa Fe Trail Elementary School in the Independence Public School District. It was December 14, 2012, and the news had just broken about an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut where an unthinkable act of senseless mass murder had occurred. As the school counselor, teachers were looking to me to give them some assurance that this wasn’t normal. All I could do was cry. I am, to this day, unable to find that confidence.
I realize school shootings are not an everyday occurrence - even though there are those who would like you to believe that. We have schools all across the nation that may never experience this tragedy. But the threat we all live under now is that it could, and until we do something that will curb the ability of whatever evil force it is that compels a person to devise such a scheme, we will continue to have active shooter trainings and ads that try to convince us that body armour is appropriate school attire.
Some of my colleagues are sponsoring gun control legislation, and I have co-sponsored a number of those bills.