I just posted on my school blog. That was the most difficult post I have ever written…. until now. As a reflective educator, who admittedly does NOT have all the answers, I am left with this question…. How am I going to deal with this? I am supposed to have all of the answers. I am supposed to be strong, brave, committed, and everything else that comes along with being a leader. Me? I am reeling from this tragedy just like everyone else.
I spent yesterday morning reading the tweets of Dawn Hochsprung the Principal of Sandy Hook Elementary who was killed by the shooter defending her school. I hope to think that I would have had the same courage as Dawn, when faced with the same situation. I know through her tweets that she was doing everything she could to make her school safe, as well as create an atmosphere of learning for her students and teachers.
I have received several emails from my staff that have outlined their concerns about our safety and security. These valid concerns have made me rethink almost everything about our school. I will begin the process of working with the staff on Monday morning, but once again, I know that I don’t have all the answers.
In an attempt to be proactive, I have set up a meeting with parents on Wednesday evening before our Talent Show. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss their concerns about the tragedy, and to ensure that they feel comfortable sending their children to our school. It is my hope that this meeting will be a springboard for the future as we embark on a lengthy process of examining our entire school day from 6:00 AM – 11:00 PM. Again… I do not have all the answers.
Then I had a epiphany….
I read a blog post from my friend Angela Maiers that really helped me. In the post, There is No Lesson Plan for Tragedy, she discusses how WE know what to do because, “Together we are smarter.” I truly believe that statement. Once I get away from the notion of I, and change to WE, I feel more confident, brave, and ready to face the challenges of leading an elementary school after this horrific tragedy. WE will continue to create a world class school, WE will help each other heal, WE will create a safer school, We are a lot stronger because WE work together to solve problems.
I know how to deal with this…. WE will deal with this!
There is no lesson plan by Angela Maiers
Dawn Hochsprung tweets
How to talk to kids about a school shooting by Dr. Laura Markham
Useful resources from Larry Ferlazzo
More resources Dr. Michele Borba
Sandy Hook Elementary information
Please know that even as our leader, it’s okay to not have all the answers and to lean on us as well. We ARE all smarter, and we all have different personal backgrounds when it comes to dealing with tragedy. All of our life experiences together allow us to be there for each other, and most importantly, for the students. We are prepared not to handle this as individuals but as the family we are. You may be the patriarch but you can be just as vulnerable as we are. It’s okay. 🙂
Thanks Leigh! I appreciate your comments!
I suggest you resist the impulse to criminalize childhood by turning your school into a fortress and consider this advice…
I appreciate your suggestion. I am certainly not going to turn the school into a fortress! I want to ensure that everyone feels safe! Thanks for the resource.
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