While these speeches sadly but importantly remind us of the horrific and senseless tragedy in Connecticut and pay tribute to those innocent children and adults who are no longer with us, we must wonder if these speeches will have any bearing on policy that will make schools safer. While at the same time politicians and education leaders are talking about making school safe from dangerous intruders, concerned parents and students, those who lovingly embraced one another last Friday in shocking remembrance of the fragility of life, need to know that these politicians and education leaders are taking steps to make schools more internally dangerous.
Many states and districts nationally have enacted sweeping policies to reduce suspensions of students. This, in theory, is a good thing. Suspension rarely helps the student who is suspended. However, these once suspendable students who are no longer getting suspended also need other services to help them deal with anger, behavioral issues, and violence. They do not get the services because they are not funded. Now staff members and students are often forced to endure threats of physical violence, and sometimes actual violence, with limited consequences for the student.
If asked, most any parent would tell you that they are not comfortable at all with anyone being threatened or assaulted in school without serious repercussions (expulsion is usually suggested). In fact, often times when the parents of the student who commits the infraction are informed of the consequences or lack there of, they are appalled at the lack of action. As a result, students and staff members, innocent ones, who may soon be protected from dangerous intruders through new policies created in the wake of the Connecticut tragedy, will be subjected to recurring danger and abuse from other students, those not receiving the services they desperately need.
Let us take this moment now to force our educational leaders to defend all students from all dangers and not to pay timely lip service to something that deserves so much more. We must defend our dear children and teachers from dangerous intruders. We must defend our dear children and teachers from violence and abuse that fills our schools and even defend those students who are committing such acts from harming themselves and harming others. We can afford to give them the services they need and we must not let anyone tell us otherwise. We can no longer allow leaders to cut corners when in comes to safety in our schools and now, more than ever, as we are thinking about school safety, we must be sure that school safety is a priority with no exceptions.
As our thoughts are with the community who has lost so much, we must be sure to defend everyone in our schools from the pain of everyday school violence and the senseless tragedies that have affected our schools and communities across this county far too frequently over the past many years. In the memory of those lost, let us all be prepared to stand up and defend the innocence of education from those who try to take it away all at once or little bits at a time.