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The Ripple Effect of Another School Shooting

2018 February 16
by Mike Vial

I haven’t been able to comment about the horrible gun violence that happened in Florida with any clarity until I got an email from a parent that brought me to my knees. I need to share an anecdote from my classroom.

Yesterday, one of my students rocked his test on Wednesday. He should have been ecstatic on Thursday. Instead, he wasn’t acting like himself. He got really upset about an interaction with another student, when normally neither student have disagreements.

That afternoon, I emailed parents sharing my restorative goals I had for both students.

One parent wrote back and said her son recognized that he wasn’t acting like himself in school. He realized he was so upset about the shooting in Florida, yet didn’t know how to feel in school Thursday, nor how to talk about it.

I broke down and cried at my desk before school started this morning.

Look, this is *not* normal. We need to stop allowing these shootings to remain a part of the fabric of our lives. Columbine happened during my senior year of high school, and it CHANGED the conversation of everything. Now, I’m a teacher, and we face these events as if they are to be expected.

The ripple effect of these shootings is affecting the psyche of our country, destroying communities.

It is time for us to have a sustained conversation about gun violence. The next generation is being asked to accept the unacceptable when we–as government leaders, adults, and voters–don’t act.

It is time to frame a conversation about gun violence that leads to change, and demand elected leaders to engage in this debate. It is time to address military grade weapons, mental health needs, and suitable changes to gun control.

It is time for those who agree on this position to not be swayed or be silenced.

Thank you for reading. May God bless the families in this time of need. May our reflections lead us to sustained action. Our children learn from watching us; may they watch us end this.


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