Here we are again. Another school shooting; the eighteenth of this young year. Fifteen children and two fellow educators left home on February 14th never to return. My heart is broken.
As first responders on the front lines of this crisis, we must Stand Up For ALL Students and push for a meaningful conversation and solutions. We must not allow this to become the new normal. We must be fearless in our advocacy for what we need as professional educators to keep ourselves and our students safe so they have every opportunity to be successful and thrive.
We need to talk about resources. We need enough counselors so we can build meaningful relationships with students and have conversations that will give them hope for their future. We need enough mental health professionals with manageable caseloads who can attend to the increasing and ever-changing social and emotional needs of our students. We need more days spent teaching and learning instead of preparing for and taking high-stakes standardized tests. We need smaller class sizes so we can build stronger relationships with our students and their families. And we cannot do this on our own. We need to build stronger relationships with partner organizations in the community that can support the mission of our district and the health and well-being of our students, their families, and our community.
We also need to talk about guns. I am a gun owner, hunter, and supporter of our second amendment rights. That said, we cannot allow politics and powerful lobbyists to prevent or derail efforts to enact common-sense legislation that will save lives.
Our politicians will tell us it is too soon to talk about what happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Then let’s talk about what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School, or Deer Creek Middle School, or Columbine High School, or any of the other two-hundred and eight school shootings that have occurred since April 20th, 1999.
Our children are depending on us to act and continue to Stand Up for ALL Students and the schools ALL Students Deserve.
Together, as JCEA, we will continue to support each other, our students, and our profession.
John Ford, Social Studies Teacher