The news of the Cleveland High School shooting truly hurts my soul. School use to be a place where kids felt safe. I remember growing up and feeling like no matter what was happening in the world, I would always be safe at school and with my parents of course. I hate that my child will not have this sense of comfort. How can I expect him to?
For Christmas, I bought my kids mobile phones. I was so torn but felt it was needed for my comfort. I gave them clear instructions on the purpose of the phone. It was to be used in cases of emergency or when with mommy and daddy. Recently I noticed that my son keeps his phone in his pocket as opposed to his book bag as requested. I questioned him and he said, “well mom if something happens at school, how can I call you if the phone is in my bag” My heart sank not only because he was right but at the fact that he recognized that something could happen.
People always think that things happen in the city but the last few school shooting occurred in small towns. The news report stated that this kid was troubled and being bullied. I wonder if anyone reached out to him prior to this. Imagine what a small kind word could have done. I grew up with a “village” and they watched over me even when I sometimes wished they would. I still operate on this mentality. If I see a child being wronged, I will address it.
Parents, we have to take control of our neighborhoods and especially the schools. There is a startling epidemic of teen suicide and teens undergoing psychiatric care as a result of bullying across United States. Should we wait until we are faced with another shooting before we talk to our kids about the devastation of bullying?
Now is the time to truly talk to your children about the destruction that bullying can cause. No child should ever be full of fear and despair when they walk into school. I also encourage you to look for signs that your child might be a victim. Bullying affects the emotional, mental and physical well-being of all children. There are so many anti-bullying programs in your area, check the internet and become part of the solution.