School no longer always a safe and nurturing environment

Last month, being February, I wrote a column that spoke about LOVE. I pretty much always write about love in February, and typically in March I move on to comment on summer and camp and/or choosing the right school or something on that order. That’s the core of our editorial and advertising base, and our purpose in publishing, to help assist parents with the important job of helping to raise children in this complex world.

However, this month, our usual wonderful expression of love on Valentine’s Day turned into a both a personal and national nightmare. Another school shooting, this time in Parkland, Fla., ended the school day with 17 dead and numerous wounded. Kids and teachers went off to school and many didn’t come home. Those who did are undoubtedly traumatized forever.

Again? Another school day turned into a war zone? I didn’t grow up with this reality. None of the adults I know did. We had other nightmares like polio, air-raid drills, and tornado warnings. We recall the shootings of our national leaders, men like John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. and Medgar Evers. We recall the horrors of the civil rights protests and the Vietnam debate and the war itself. Our nation has often been divided. The Civil War was reflective of a lot that has continued in this vast and diverse land of ours.

But this debate about guns and the right to bear arms is the one that many of our nation’s teens and adults are now ready to radically pounce on. Thank goodness I didn’t have to parent kids who left for school every day with me wondering if there was going to be a shoot-out in their school. Nor did my parents or their parents, but that’s no longer true. School is no longer the ALWAYS safe and nurturing environment it used to be. Only recently have parents and kids become wary and afraid of what might take place in their school after they say good-bye in the morning.

I feel very passionate about this. Who doesn’t? Even the discussion about how to deal with school shootings is like being in a bad dream. It can’t be real, but it is. We are seriously debating arming teachers and all kinds of band-aid fixits that don’t address the core problem. The core problem is guns, and if we love our children we will love them more than some people seem to love their weapons. Some think we have a constitutional right to bear arms. I believe we have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that means our kids going off to school and coming home safe at the end of the day.

What do you think?