I lived in South Florida for 17 years of my life, so hearing about the latest school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School CERTAINLY hit home. I suppose that could be because that was my high school’s rival school. I knew people that attended that school. I have driven by it countless times and even had my Sweet Sixteen party at the hotel that housed the students after the tragedy. Not that the severity of any of the other school shootings that have occurred this year is diminished, just because they did not have a close tie to me, but this one in particular was even more surreal.
The emotion is raw. These children are sent to school, a place that they believe they are safe in. When I was in school, I never felt unsafe. So how do we, as parents and future parents, handle these situations. Situations like when our children come and say that they don’t want to go to school anymore? Or, they want to be homeschooled, since they are too fearful to return to school?
I truly feel that it is extremely difficult to discuss an issue like this, without it being politicized. Let me be clear that I do not write this post, taking a stance, one way or another, regarding the issue of gun control. This is a much larger issue, dealing with mental health, social media, rejection, etc. This is truly me, confiding in all of you, expressing my fear of raising children in today’s society.
I feel like children deal with so much more today, than they did when I was growing up. They live under constant pressure to fit in, “be cool,” and well, just survive. This idea of inclusiveness is constantly shoved down kids’ throats, just as is exemplified in this story from Elle, about a school that requires girls to not say no when boys ask them to dance at a school function. I understand the message, trying to incorporate inclusiveness, but is the message really helping? Teaching girls that they HAVE to say yes? Teaching boys that it is perfectly acceptable to never be rejected? Teaching that girls’ thoughts and feelings should be dismissed?
Perhaps I am going off on a tangent. My point is simple. There is a significant problem in this country. Our children are not safe, and there doesn’t seem to be any action being taken. When will we admit that there is a correlation between gun violence and mental health?
If schools are no longer safe spaces, then what is?