This morning, I packed my youngest child's lunch, hugged her goodbye, and watched as she lugged her heavy backpack to the bus. I whispered a small prayer that she will be safe in school today. Twenty-one families in Uvalde, Texas will never again hug their loved ones. Families across America are whispering prayers for our children's safety as we accompany them to school, as we wait for them to come home.
Within the span of one week, our nation has witnessed two massacres in spaces that are supposed to be our sanctuaries—a grocery store and a school. Once again, we are filled with anguish and disbelief at the unfathomable tragedy at Robb Elementary School: 19 children in grades 3 and 4 were assassinated in their place of learning, in their school, in the heart of their community. Their teachers, Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia, died while reportedly trying to protect their students.
I taught 4th grade. I cannot imagine the courage Ms. Mireles and Ms. Garcia summoned in those final moments of their lives. They had dedicated their lives to supporting children to learn, to grow, to flourish; and together, they perished.
It is hard not to feel cynical. So many calls for urgent action. So little done. NPR reported 27 school shootings with injuries or deaths this year alone. According to Education Week, there have been 119 school shootings since they began tracking the data in 2018.
We must do better than this. We must act collectively as members of our communities, and we must engage with each other to create solutions to stop gun violence, to heal, and to hope. We must join together to ensure that our nation keeps children and teachers safe, especially when they are in their schools.
If you are looking for resources for your school leaders, educator community, or for yourself on how to talk to students about this tragedy, the American School Counselor Association has a collection of materials available.