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This week, school officials across the country monitored computer screens, smartphones, and televisions waiting to hear more details after a 12-year-old middle school student walked into his school with a loaded weapon. Initial reports left many of us worried there would be hundreds of fatalities after hearing how the shooter walked into a crowded gymnasium and opened fire on his classmates. While there were individuals who were injured, the majority of the school’s students and teachers were able to leave the gymnasium unharmed. Or did they? I would argue, like with other school shootings, the shooting in Roswell, New Mexico has forever changed not only Berrindo Middle School but also the lives of its students and teachers as well.
Like so many educators, I worry we have reached a point in our history where school shootings are just another part of our everyday lives — the new normal. And, like many schools, preparing for the possibility of a mass shooting or an intruder on the school grounds has now become just another school drill. New York Times journalist, Jack Healy, talks about the way in which “lockdowns” and “duck-and-cover-drills” are now common in public and private schools in the U.S. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer for how best to solve this issue; however, I believe this is the one issue that cannot be ignored for the sake of all school age children everywhere. tlb