Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Thoughts on Teachers & Sandy Hook

I can't stop thinking about the discussions that schools across the country--especially elementary schools--are going to have today with their students. I can only hope that these schools are equipped with the resources they need: counselors, parent involvement, empathetic administrators, among other things.

Yesterday, Matt's 9 year old son asked me, "Did any kids die?" It took me off guard and frankly, I was surprised he didn't already know the answer. Although I suspect that ultimately, he kind of did. There was really only one thing I could say: I told him that yes, some kids had died, but that this was a completely rare, freakish event, and that he shouldn't be afraid to go to school.

His teachers are going to have to field a lot more questions, most of which they won't know the answers to. They're doing tough work for all of us today.

p.s.: What do you think of the controversial article, "I am Adam Lanza's Mother?" It looks like the blogger has changed the original name of the post. In any case, I don't know. I guess I think the message is important, but it sort of gives me the chills that she compares her son--who hasn't killed anyone--to a mass murderer. NBC interviewed her here, though I haven't watched it yet.


22 comments:

Angelina Medina said...

I read the article. It is so sad. As a mother I can't imagine having a child who behaves like that. I'll have to watch the video, thank you for posting.

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

So so sad. My high school had a scare after Columbine and we were all evacuated. Of course it was a really bad prank but I feel bad for our parents. I was a stupid senior and didn't think much of it but my mom was terrified, like I'm sure all of the parents.

Meg O. said...

I am a high school teacher and I feel it's important to have the conversation with the older ones, which I have been doing today. I always want them to feel safe in my classroom. I literally would do anything for them.

I can't even imagine having to have that conversation with such little ones. I wouldn't know what to say. I am still so broken up over this.

Meghan said...

I can definitely say that kids have a TON of questions today:( We were also asked to review our security policies all day long, too.

I read the article too, and am so saddened by it. So many children and adults suffer from mental illness, and I don't think we're as equipped as we'd like to think to deal with it.

GirlieBlogger@Beauty Fashion Blog Seattle said...

Kids are such intuitive human beings, and smarter than we give them credit for. I'm sure your sweet Matthew already knows.

Thank you for sharing the article. I had no idea that mental illness started at such an early age. When the incident first happened, there were an obscene amount of social media about gun control, but little on bettering mental health. I believe that we need both.

Kate Kiefer said...

i thought this was a good response: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/12/17/i_am_adam_lanza_s_mother_liza_lang_essay_libels_her_son.html

Marisa Crawford said...

Thanks, Claire. It is so incredibly sad. I can't stop thinking about it. Newtown is the town over from my home town, where I hung out all the time growing up. This week the kids from Sandy Hook are being re-located to my former middle school in Monroe, which is empty now. The whole thing is so sad but especially when it's so close to home.

Re. the article, it looks like that was the original title & the title was changed to "I Am Adam Lanza's Mother" when it was re-posted. Also wanted to share this one: http://inthesetimes.com/duly-noted/entry/14322/on_being_or_not_being_adam_lanzas_mother

H. Gillham said...

After Columbine, as teachers, we were all changed -- but the one thing we all agreed on is that we can't protect ourselves from this type of madness if we want to live with freedom. We pay a high price for freedom ---

We live in a broken world, with many broken people. I pray for everyone with this --- but what I really hope is that the suffering in Newton have friends who will be quiet and be there in love and not try to comfort them with empty words. I hope, like Job, friends will just sit with them, hold them, bring them sustenance as they grieve through this. I also hope they will still be beside them as they walk the rest of their lives as well.

I had not read this article or heard about it so thanks for posting it. I actually thought the whole thing sounded like fiction, but what do I know.

Kate -- I found the rebuttal at Slate interesting as well.

Hugs to you Claire.

Karen Albert said...

It is a sad sad state..thank you so very much for the links. A lot of extra loving thoughts and prayers this season.

Love & Hugs,
Karena
Art by Karena
$75 NOVICA Giveaway

meghan said...

I have been so saddened by this event and found myself crying so many times from Friday through Sunday night when watching coverage. I kept wanting to watch it to see if they would say anything that would make it better, and even though I know they couldn't, I kept hoping that somehow something would make it better. I think I was so torn up about it from a teacher's perspective, since I don't have kids of my own. It scares me how random it was, and it scares me how it all happened. The article, I though, was really interesting. Though her son hasn't killed anyone, I think it's brave of her to share the difficult nature of parenting a child who tries to hurt her. Speaking from someone who knows so little about children with mental and learning disabilities, it was enlightening to me to hear this. Though I think it does take it a bit far to compare him to the murderer at Sandy Hook, it shows how torn she is about how to handle what can only be a difficult situation. We're on break, so I didn't have the change to go in and relearn safety procedure, etc. I have a feeling that we'll be spending a lot of time with it in January. And I guess it's really important, although I still question what kind of policy would have changed the events. It seemed like this school had all of the safety measures in place. I am so torn up about this whole thing, and I don't even think I can imagine how people who were directly impacted must feel.

alwaysswimmingupstream said...

Reading that article kind of freaked me out. It would be so awful to have a child you are scared of and it sounds like he needs to be hospitalized until they can find a way to treat his condition. I'm sure that there are many more children out there like this one which is why everyone needs to have access to mental health services. And I do agree with the author that jail is not a good place for the mentally ill.

Jo said...

i do believe that we need to start taking the mental health of our children more seriously in this country. it is so expensive for families to get the proper mental care for their children. i know a family who is going through this very thing, and it is so sad and so frightening. it would cost them over $200,000.00 per year to have their child in the "boarding school" that two psychologists have recommended. who can afford that? and, it is at the point where the safety of the other children in the family is at risk.
we need to get to the root of this and help children who have these mental and learning disabilities. i'm not a fan of guns, but the problem goes much deeper.

it will be interesting to see how each state/city reacts to this tragedy. here in los angeles, when kids come back to school after winter break, there will be an lapd officer at each school every day. so sad that it has to be this way. it feels like innocence lost.

Jo said...

i do believe that we need to start taking the mental health of our children more seriously in this country. it is so expensive for families to get the proper mental care for their children. i know a family who is going through this very thing, and it is so sad and so frightening. it would cost them over $200,000.00 per year to have their child in the "boarding school" that two psychologists have recommended. who can afford that? and, it is at the point where the safety of the other children in the family is at risk.
we need to get to the root of this and help children who have these mental and learning disabilities. i'm not a fan of guns, but the problem goes much deeper.

it will be interesting to see how each state/city reacts to this tragedy. here in los angeles, when kids come back to school after winter break, there will be an lapd officer at each school every day. so sad that it has to be this way. it feels like innocence lost.

Megan said...

I am so shocked and saddened by this event, I do alot of mental health law related work and it is always a reality check when these events happen. This has been all over the news here and everyone is talking about it, so I cant imagine what it is like in the States.

I dont know how I feel about that article, maybe its the brutal honesty that makes me uncomfortable or exactly what you said.

6 in Love said...

It's hard to know what to say, what to do next. It's on all of our minds and we all react differently. But we all have the same goal in mind- to prevent this from ever happening again.

I did read the article a couple days ago. I think it's brutally honest and so scary. How difficult that must be! At the same time, if she feels that way, she really has to get him help NOW! Somehow, some way. What about her other children? I feel like all of their lives are at risk, and it's not right for anyone. I don't know enough about the issue of mental health to make a comment regarding what should happen next, although it appears something needs to change.

I know everyone is talking about mental health and gun control, which should be looked at. However, as a teacher who has practiced 'shooter drills' and know what it's like to be in a school with 100s of small children with just the thought of this possibility, I want to make other suggestions as well. Not new ideas, I know, but this is what I would like to see happen: I think we should have at least one armed officer in every school at all times of operation. Also, it should be a no-brainer that all doors to the school should remained locked during school hours. I'd like to suggest video cameras at the main entrance, where visitors must buzz to enter (after having been seen by office staff). Metal detectors in all middle & high schools, as well. My children aren't fearful of seeing a police officer- they are excited. They know that they protect us and help us, and feel safe around them. Plus, I'd rather them be fearful, if that was the case, & remain safe. So, I don't think that's a good argument. Finally I think we need to look at the physical structure of schools being built. Every classroom should have two doors. One the the hallway & one leading outside. This makes sense in case of a shooter, but also for other emergencies such as fires. I have taught at a school that had this layout. I felt so much safer. It was brilliant. Just my two cents. :)

Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird said...

The entire thing sort of makes me think of a book I've read several times, We Need To Talk About Kevin.

Needless to say, the entire situation is so sad. I can't even imagine trying to explain this to little kids and trying to make them feel safe.

Allison said...

I agree with the commenter above and that book - it was the FIRST thing I thought of after all of this.
Going into work on Monday was tough - my students all wanted to discuss it. What did impress me and made me attempt to think of some type of a silver lining, was that my students - ex convicts, many who were imprisoned for violent crimes or owning illegal weapons - were horrified by this and want to do something.
I think your being honest was the best possible thing to do in this situation. I remember at my brother's school after 9/11 (since many parents of students worked in the WTC), they locked down the school and lied to students, saying there was a rapist loose. This did way more harm than if someone had explained things.

daniela said...

Thank you for posting about that article! I can't imagine how that mother feels & being torn between the well being of one child vs herself & her other children.

I'm not sure how I feel regarding the discussions that will happen in schools though. I feel like when I'm a parent, I would like to have the option of shielding my child (especially at a very young age) from knowing about things like this. They don't need to be unnecessarily afraid or hearing it in ways that I may not agree with. It's similar to the Santa Claus issue - you guard your child's belief in the magic of Santa & Christmas and then someone ruins it for them before you're ready to let go of that innocence. Anyway, just an opinion :)

drollgirl said...

i haven't read that article. i think i am afraid to. but i will give it a look.

i can't say/write anything that hasn't been said already about this tragic event. it is deeply upsetting.

drollgirl said...

just read the article. omfg. in many, many ways i am relieved i never had children. i feel for this woman. she leads a terrifying existence and needs help. badly!!!!!!

Shoshanah said...

After several friends posted the article on facebook, I read it and it definitely left an impression. I can't even imagine being in her situation, and hope I never have to experience anything like what she's dealing with with her son. And more than that, hope to never have to deal with such a tragedy like this with anyone I know, because as awful as I feel about this, it's only a fraction what the people who lost someone feel.

Kat@shop.school.sleep. said...

It wasn't as bad for my classes, middle schoolers don't care much but the lockdown drills brought out more questions. I read the article and it's sad but it's true. With all the mental health issues arising in students today, we should find a way to address this problem and ultimately police help might be the first step in finding better solutions