What have all the school shooters in recent history had in common? They all attended public schools.
It is time to consider whether guns are the problem, or whether perhaps the educational environment in our schools has deteriorated to the point where our children are no longer safe.
School shootings are not the only consequence of this unsafe environment. Children are traumatized in less obvious ways as well.
Public schools have become impersonal, sterile and monolithic — like most government institutions. Kids are falling through the cracks. This makes the schools less safe. Government schools have become incubators for the sort of tragedies we are seeing today. We also see an increase in mental health disorders and overall malaise amongst our children and even the staff.
Private schools are more caring, personal, boutique, couture and tailored to the individual child’s needs. Private security is safer too. Children are more nurtured and can follow their passions. Parents are more engaged and teachers have more freedom.
This is not at all a critique of our teachers or staff. Their hands are tied. They too are left unprotected, dealing with issues they are not trained to address and bound by institutional mandates. They lack the resources or time to give individual attention to children so that they don’t slip through the cracks. They are left to fill the role of parent, guardian, counselor, confidant, friend, nurse, psychotherapist and…teacher. It is an impossible job; all while being “handcuffed.” Heck, they can’t even hug a child nowadays.
There will be a lot of talk about more gun control but to focus singularly on one factor is being dishonest and simplistic. The problem we face as a society runs much, much deeper. These guns have been around for decades but this problem is merely a couple decades old.
The real issue is the deterioration of our education system. That is the conversation we need to have.
At a private school with smaller classes, a teacher, counselor or other staff person would have likely seen warnings signs early on. But in the government system funds are misappropriated and “circle the top,” leaving our children and teachers vulnerable and scared. The learning environment in our government schools has deteriorated and these school shootings are a symptom of much deeper systemic issues that it is time to talk openly about.
Let’s increase access to private schools: choice, charter and vouchers.