I keep thinking back to when I was in grade school. A lot has changed since those days. I believe I was in high school when Columbine happened. I remember watching the news story with my friends thinking how in the world could other kids my age do such a thing. It was new territory back then and for me I think the start to lost innocence. As time went on you heard about one school shooting after another, after another. Useless senseless violence.
As a mother this has scared me to my core, especially after the Sandy Hook Shooting. My kids are not safe anywhere and to leave them in the care of another requires great trust. At least it does in me. This summer, I will be putting my five year old in Kindergarten. On our search back in February to find the right school for him, I was shocked to see every school we visited was always on lock down. No outside visitors unless announced, everything was locked, some schools even had bullet proof windows. It wasn’t this way when I was a kid.
Certainly times have changed.
While part of me is sad that this kind of danger and violence can happen around a child, the other part of me, found relief in knowing all the precautions schools have taken to make sure kids and the staff are safe. Most of the schools, in addition to always locked main doors, also had turnstiles like the ones at Centaman Entrance Control, or other means of controlling entrances to certain areas, like auditoriums, gyms and even the library.
My high school down in Phoenix Arizona had the main doors open all the time. Anyone could walk in there. We were allowed to leave campus if you were a Junior or Senior. Nowadays, in some schools I hear kids aren’t allowed to leave campus anymore. As a society I think we are much more protective of our kids, yet as a society we rarely talk to our kids about the affects of watching violent shows, playing violent video games, bullying, or even the affects of mental illness on society. We need solutions for these things, but like everything else in history, it all takes time, or a revolutionist like Martin Luther King, or Maya Angelou to make people change their thinking.
As a parent are you surprised at the way our schools are protected these days, or relieved? For me, I am relieved, even though I know how “protected” our kids are, won’t solve all the problems they’ll face. I love knowing that safety against violence in schools, is now a standard across America. At some point though we will have to trust them with the internet, with being home alone, with being able to protect themselves in case of danger and so on.
When did you start having talks about stranger danger and safety procedures with your kids? I think my five year old is more than ready and I definitely want to address at least the “stranger danger” part before he starts school.
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