I just finished reading an article in today’s Boston Globe Magazine. It made me so angry and so frustrated that I am just about in tears.
It was an article on school safety. Here is the link: “Safekeeping” You should read it.
Then you should take a moment to reflect on this little story that my husband heard way back in graduate school.
A man was walking in a new country. It was a lovely place. There was a river, and it came rushing down from the mountainside. As the man approached the riverbank, he saw many people, working frantically to pull babies out of the rushing waters. Each time one of the townspeople pulled out a little baby, saving its life, another baby came by, swept along by the river’s current. “What are you doing?”, asked the stranger. “We are all working together,” answered one of the townspeople, sweeping a baby out of the current and into the waiting arms of the rescuers, “We are saving the babies!”
The man stood and watched for a moment, then he began to walk briskly upstream. “Where are you going?”, asked the townspeople, “Aren’t you going to help us?” The man shook his head and kept walking. “I am going upstream.”, he said. “I am going to find out who is throwing the babies into the river.”
The article in the Globe talked about how schools are working very hard to keep children safe in the age of the Newtown massacre and Columbine. It talked about locked doors, and shelter-in-place drills and armed guards. It mentioned that many schools are using social conflict programs such as Open Circle and the Responsive Classroom to teach children how to cooperate and to get along. The article reported the recommended words to use with frightened children, the best way to respond to their questions and concerns, the approved approach to keeping everyone calm.
Schools all over this country are spending money on keypad locks and security cameras. Money that could have been spent on new books, more teachers, better science materials or a boatload of art supplies.
Teachers all over this country are being trained in the best ways to distract shooters and the best approach to locking the doors quickly. Windows are being covered by a “film” that minimizes the impact of bullets. In some places, teachers are being encouraged to carry concealed weapons.
Everyone is pulling babies out of the flood.
No one is walking upstream to find out where the babies are coming from. No one, anywhere, is suggesting that maybe we need to get rid of the damn guns so we can prevent the problem in the first place.