I was in Atlanta on Friday, December 14th when the tragedy in Newtown, CT happened. That morning I was at Lenox Mall with the 7th grade doing a math project (more about that on the next blog post), but when I got back after lunch I looked at the television in the lobby and saw what is now becoming an all too common site - another school shooting.
As I pulled up my laptop and saw the details of what was unfolding, this shooting just felt different. I clearly remember Colombine and Virginia Tech and how they made people rethink school safety and the extreme violence that exists in our country. What was happening in Sandy Springs Elementary School seemed to hit me much harder.
After thinking about it over the weekend and being saturated with 24 hour news coverage of Connecticut, I realized that it is me that has changed. I am now a dad. My 14 month year old son, Ryder, is all I thought about as I watched the families mourn on television. Then it all just hit me at once. I thought about what if it was Ryder in that classroom?
I gave Ryder an extra long hug when I got back home on Saturday and I make sure to give him an extra long hug when I drop him off at day care this week.
As a teacher, I am constantly thinking, "What would I do if it was me?" I hope that I will never know the answer, but I am inclined to think that I would do what most any teacher would do, protect my students. Just like the heroic story that has come out about Vicki Soto, the first grade teacher who protected her students, teachers are wired to think quickly and of the kids first. When they are in trouble, we want to help. We spend so much time with our students each day, each year, they truly are a part of our lives.
It is hard putting all of what happened into words, as a teacher, as a dad now I struggle with what it will take to address these issues. With the fast paced world we currently live in, and news stories sweeping through our televisions and computers at rapid speeds, it's so easy to become entrenched to the next hot story. Let's hope that this does not happen here and progress can be made to make sure this does not happen again.