To My Congressional Representatives

I know that I have only one voice. But I have one, and I am determined to use it.

On the four month anniversary of Sandy Hook, we are reminded that nothing has been done to prevent yet another shooting of this nature.  Listen to the family members of the victims in this tragedy. They live the aftermath of our society’s inability to do something. 60 minutes 4-7-2013

Today, family members of the victims of this tragedy will be in Washington, DC. I implore our representatives in Congress to listen – do not rush by arrogantly and claim you are “all set” as one insensitive Connecticut representative does in the video.  Listen, listen to these people who will live with the aftermath of this tragedy for the rest of their days.

We cannot afford to be complacent, afraid of controversy, or stubbornly one-sided in these discussions. This is a complicated issues — along with gun control, we can no longer ignore those who face mental challenges, and yet, through stigma and misconception, are outcast from receiving meaningful help and assistance. We cannot allow, as the NRA has suggested, our schools to become armed bastions.

Something needs to change here. It’s not just Sandy Hook – violence impacts families and communities every day. Read, or at the very least, look at the graphic of mass shootings found this article from Mother Jones.

My own students sometimes come to class – third grade – with stories of guns going off in their neighborhood. They know the difference between a car backfiring and the sound of a gun. Is this the kind of childhood we want for our children?

Please contact your own congressional representatives.  I have.

 

Snowflakes

Every child can relate to the anxiety one feels when you enter a school building for the first time. So can any teacher.

We feel helpless to comfort our colleagues and their students. Their grief and sense of loss is unimaginable. And they will naturally feel anxious when they return to a different school building in January.

So when this project, Snowflakes for Sandy Hook, started circulating through email and twitter, it seemed like a way we could offer support.

The simple act of creating a paper snowflake, a most child-like gift, resonated with my students. They had all heard of the shooting, they had noticed that a patrol car now monitors our arrivals and departures, they had questions about their own safety. And they wanted to make the students from Sandy Hook feel more comfortable in their new school building.

If you are a teacher, maybe you and your students would like to add your snowflakes too.

 

In the dark of winter…

There is a pall hanging over us. We want answers to the unanswerable. We need to put our anger and sadness  somewhere, but there is no place.

Tomorrow is a Monday that will be unlike any other. Tomorrow I need to try to reassure my 8-year-olds. Many of them will have watched too many reports on television, or overheard snippets of adult conversation.  While some of my students live with traumas, nothing like this has ever happened before. I pray that nothing close to it ever happens again.

I have no idea what I can say, except to reassure them that, while sometimes the adults in their lives have been unreliable, I am here to keep them safe.  As a teacher, I imagine that is exactly what passed through the minds of the teachers and administrators of Sandy Hook as they made split second decisions to shelter their own students. Six times that instinct to protect children from harm resulted in the ultimate sacrifice.

We will need to be together.