It’s been a week. 7 days. 168 hours. 10,080 minutes. It’s been a week.
One week ago today I had my scariest day in education to date. I saw students go through a mirage of emotions, similar to myself.
Now, was I directly affected.
Yes & no.
I am not employed at Forest High School, but I do work at the feeder Middle School, Fort King. I teach students whose’ siblings were directly impacted. I work with people whose children were in the classroom affected. I’m friends with officers and first responders who were a part of the recovery efforts. I went through Code Yellow and Red throughout the day as news came in across the district of other potential threats. I locked down my room, sat in silence with my students, and thought about all the potential things that could happen.
I believe we were all affected that day, in some shape or form. Some greater some less. Some directly and others indirectly.
Will those students ever forget their classroom being cleared by armed SWAT team members? Will they ever forget the sound of a gun shot in the hall? Will they not ever again see a guitar case and wonder, what’s inside? Who’s to say.
I have a feeling the memory of that day will stay with all of us, forever.
But, the question stands; What the hell is going on in this world? I’ve seen the news stories and heard about the violence, but I always thought, not Ocala. Not our small town. But yes, us too, are affected by the violence of today’s society.
So, how do we stop it? How do we fix it? How do we change the culture of today’s society?
I believe it starts at home. We need parents to be parents again. Know where their kid is, what their kid is doing, and who their kid is spending time with. Know their kid, through and through. Know when their kid is struggling physically, mentally, socially. Know when their kid is having a hard time making friends at school. Know when their kid is researching bombs, buying guns on the black market, and planning a mass shooting.
KNOW YOUR DAMN KIDS.
And as a society, we need to identify that mental health is a weakness for us. Both identification and servicing these individuals needs a complete overhaul. How do we let these kids slip through the cracks?
We gotta step our game up. We have to make an effort, Every. Single. Day, to connect with kids and let them know that there is someone here for them. There are better options. There is support.
As a community, let’s come together. As a country, let’s come together. Let’s solve this problem, day by day, classroom by classroom, home by home, and let’s save America’s youth.
Today I wear green in support of Forest High School & all of us who were affected by last Friday’s events.
We are #foreststrong.