What’s the answer to school safety? I don’t know.

By: 
Monika Spaulding, Digital Editor

I’ve listened to a lot of talk about school safety in the last couple of weeks and have read even more articles on the subject. It seems everyone has an opinion and many have solutions for how to solve this problem.

Sadly, I don’t have a lot to say about it. My personality is more of a listener than a speaker. I like to hear what others think, how they feel and what they believe the answers are.

With all I have heard, I can definitely say, with certainty, that there is no one solution to this issue. 

Is there a gun issue? Yes.

Is there a mental health issue? Yes.

Should we make schools safer? Yes.

Are bad people going to do bad things no matter what? Yes.

Am I worried as a mother? Yes.

Would I do anything to protect innocent children? Yes.

Am I concerned as a school board member? Yes.

The answer isn’t going to be found in one area from one certain thing and pointing fingers at each other, blaming video games, guns, poor mental health, teachers, parents, etc., that isn’t going to solve the problem. Why? Because it’s ALL of that. All of it and trying to act like it is just one thing is ignorant. Fighting with each other is not going to find our answer.

I get that it’s overwhelming to try and take on all of it at once, that we have to start somewhere. But I think a good place to start would be to recognize the fact that there are many factors contributing to this issue.

I was talking to a local police officer who was sitting in his patrol car outside the schools last week after an anonymous threat was made online (to another school corporation). I thanked him and the other officers who made a more noticeable presence at school that day. He said, “Everyone on our police force cares about school safety. Most of us have children in these schools.”

Our community wants our kids to be safe, to feel safe. Children shouldn’t be going to school scared of gunmen. They should be thinking about who they are going to play with at recess, what fun activity they are going to do in gym that day, etc.

I don’t want kids to worry about adult problems. So many of them do that already, so much so that they are practically raising themselves.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I’m willing to work as hard as I can to help in any way I can. I think right now it’s my responsibility as a parent and a citizen to parent my children and do what I can in my own home. I love my kids, I listen to their problems and work hard to be a good role model for them every day. I encourage conversation, I tell them they are important and that they matter.  I’m  a strong believer that encouragement goes a long way.

Encouraging your child with love and support at home is the best place to start, in my opinion, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed by these issues. Will it solve all of our problems? Not even close. But, it’s a good place to start. 

Hug your kids tight and listen to their voices. They’re important.

-monika@salemleader.com

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