In the aftermath of one of the worst school shootings in history, at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., readers shared their thoughts and concerns, including how they discussed the tragedy with students.
Jim Mordecai: These are senseless and horrible killings in Connecticut. I don't know the best way to explain to students what took place.
But I am reminded when I was years ago teaching at an Oakland elementary and shooting started outside the school. The person being shot at had run from his car trying to get away from the shooters. The school had a principal that had insisted on practicing a lockdown. The person being shot at ran off the school grounds. Fortunately, he didn't try to hide inside the school. And, if he had tried to enter, the school, and the classrooms, were locked down, including the portables.
Makeitgoaway: We already started the process -- amazingly, students told me because they had learned through social media. I immediately read the story on my iPhone and teared up. You MUST talk to your classes as I did today, and reassure them they are cared for and safe. Let your students talk and truly listen. It is not business as usual. We live in a violent society.
Just the previous day, a young lady came and spoke to my class because she is related to the two teens who were shot and killed near Brookdale Park in Oakland. She is starting a club to stop the violence and encourage students to state "what they know." Four of my students raised their hands when asked whether they had suffered similar violent losses. It was shocking to see it. I love my students, and I will do anything to support them. Like the president stated, "Heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds."
TeacherMan: I don't own a gun and don't know if I ever will. I do work at an elementary school in one of the most violent areas of Oakland.
We are literally one mile from what is known as "the kill zone," an intersection in Oakland that reaps the most deaths than anywhere else in the city. Considering that there have been 122 homicides in the city so far this year, you would think the school district would take into consideration the safety of its employees and students. You would think that, but you'd be wrong.
High schools do have officers on site and so do some middle schools. My school doesn't have any security provided by the district. Furthermore, the buildings on our campus are wide open to the public. It is outrageously easy for anyone to walk into any building without ever passing through the main office. ...
For the last three years I have requested a buzzer system for our doors so that we can be secure on a campus that has no security officer. Our principal has been denied anything -- including cameras.
At the end of the day, who is protecting me and my students if I don't? ...
The violence in Connecticut was in an affluent community and committed by a man that seems to have been mentally ill on some level. If it can happen there, it can certainly happen in Oakland, and still, the only thing that the Oakland Unified School District had to say was captured in an automated voice message that was left on my voice mail: We are prepared with trained officers.
What they leave out is that those officers are nowhere near some of the most vulnerable school campuses. ...
This is less about guns and more about how we neglect the neediest of services because it costs too much. What exactly is the price of all the lives lost?