SAFER SCHOOLS NEWS – VOL. 14 – pg. 1
What About Our Schools?
First she could not find her shoes. Then it was her book bag. When she could not find her pencil, Mom knew there was something else going on. Gently, Mom took her hand…Gently, Mom took her hand and led her to the kitchen table. In her very best all-wise-Mother voice, Mom asked, “Honey, what’s wrong. I can tell you are not very excited about going to school today. You know you can tell me if anything is upsetting you.”
Her little girl’s eyes seemed to be larger than ever before. It was amazing how much water those eyelids could hold before they spilled over and a tear raced down that precious cheek. “Mom, I’m scared. I’m afraid to go to school.”
With just a little encouragement from Mom, the 4th grader began to relate horror stories of arguments, fights, weapons and even shootings. At first, Mom was in shock that such things were happening and she was unaware. But slowly it became apparent that the stories were rumors and perceptions. Bits and pieces were picked up by different students, mixed with news reports and then developed into the melodrama that is the life of elementary students. Mom was active in several parent and school volunteer groups so she knew how to answer her little girl with factual information. “Actually, school is statistically the safest place you can be….” Her voice trailed off as the look in her daughter’s eyes asked more questions that she could possibly answer, especially with “statistics.” Numbers were just fine for reports and grants but this was her daughter; this was real.
Learn more about who Schools can form Student-led Student-formed Groups
SAFE Chapters or Lock Out Violence Everyday Campaign.
“I am going to call my job and your school to tell them that we are running a little late today. Then, lets have a cup of hot chocolate and figure out what we need to do to solve this problem.”
Mom realized that the fear was real, regardless of the factual basis. She never belittled her daughter’s thoughts or feelings. “Tell me about someone you know that has been hurt at school.”
“Well this girl I know told me about a boy in another school that got shot for going out with another boy’s girl friend.”
Mom nodded in apparent agreement, then responded, “That might be right, but I was wondering about your school and people that you actually know.”
This line of talk slowly demonstrated to the young lady that her fears, although real, were based in stories from other people and other places. But not giving up, she replied with the wisdom that only comes from children, “Mom, even if it happened to other kids at other schools, were their schools different from mine?”
Such insight! Mom wanted so badly to say, “Yes! Your school is different. It is safe.” But she knew in her heart that the only difference between her daughter’s school and…
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