Unfortunately, people making dangerous choices are a reality (see linked article), and it is necessary to (1) teach our children safety plans and preparedness, and (2) provide policies and budgets that promote health and wellness in the community among potential shooters (perpetrators), and potential victims (students and staff).
At the Schools
For the children:
- There are many ways to address these situations that are age-appropriate, such as playing games or taking martial arts or self-defense/empowerment classes that are geared toward kids.
“Hide and Seek is a good game to let children develop skills of escape from enemies (Hide) or look for food or hidden enemies (Seek). These skills were of great value in a hunter-gatherer culture; children would have been encouraged to develop them through play.
“It remains popular now for the same reason it was popular then: the children enjoy playing it. It requires no special equipment, and people of all ability levels can play it. Because it is so simple, it is very easy to learn. It can be played in a variety of environments. Remember, in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, it is while playing Hide and Seek inside the house on a rainy day that Lucy first goes to Narnia.”
- We can model programs, such as Steve Hupp’s American Tae Kwon Do Super Karate (ATSK) classes in the Amphi District, with games and exercises that teach students about self-control and having good character.
For the Staff:
- Funding options (and policies) for paid training and practice in Crisis Response and Education About Trauma (including Vicarious Trauma)
- Funding options (and policies) that allow for programs and practices that support staff accessibility to resources (including, but not limited to, additional staff, and non-standard, creative strategies that facilitate health and wellness for the students and school community)
For the Families:
- Housing First Programs to reduce families being in a housing crisis, which can result in further challenges for families
- Family Advocates to connect Families with School Personnel
- Family Advocates to connect Families with the Local Community
For the Community:
- Opportunities to Volunteer and Support Students, and their staff and families
Policies and Budgets
Our schools budgets and policies should provide support and funding for educational programs which develop and nurture:
- Self-Esteem and Self-Expression
- Complex and Creative Thinking
- Personal and Community Responsibility
- Health and Wellness
And might manifest as programs and practices of:
- Healthy relationships
- Kindness and Empathy
- Inter-generational and intersectional relationships
- Restorative practices
- Arts and Music
- Financial Management and Responsibility
- Social justice/equity
- Equal access
The heart and mind of the child must be nurtured and strengthened, not forced through standardized tests. Standardized tests force our children into cookie cutter molds, with expectations from one set of “testers”. If school funding and teacher pay is to continue to be tied to test results, we must use multi-modal assessments, which would measure the growth of students, and the success of the school community.
“We are each a piece of the puzzle of life. Without each of us, our picture is incomplete.”