I woke up this morning and turned on the television. I usually take the first few minutes to get myself together before I wake up my son to get him ready for school. On the television on a news program, there was the story of the shooting at an Ohio School. As a parent myself, I could not fathom what it would be like to get that phone call, hear it on the radio, or television that one of my children's schools had something like this happen. As a writer, I cannot find the words. I do however have the tears when I think about how these poor parents probably were rushed to the hospitals their children were at, hoping all the way that this was just some nightmare; hoping their child will be alright only to find out they've lost a child. I wonder how children have become so violent? I understand bullying and being teased. Most of us can recall at some point in our lives when we were bullied. For me, and I've spoke on this before-I was an easy target because I was quiet and I really did like school for the most part. I loved reading, writing, and I adored science. I liked being accepted and having friends. I've never bullied anyone so I am not sure how they go about picking their "victims". I have never seen the Captain of the football team bullied nor did I ever see the head cheerleader messed with. High School just was one of those journeys that was fraught with many obstacles and sink holes.
I understand with the invention of the World Wide Web and today more and more parents are single and/or work 2 or more jobs that kids are susceptible to things. I can remember feeling depressed, overly sensitive and emotional, and anger. I was angry but I was never so angry that I wanted to end someone's life. I don't understand how one gets to that point. Then I think about how parents don't notice the change in their children. I am in NO way blaming the parents. Parents regardless of your jobs you are going to have to start talking to your kids and their schools. If teachers and schools won't talk to you or give you the run around-mostly because teachers are teaching more for less pay and schools are ill funded-then you show up at school! Demand they give you the 4-1-1 on YOUR kid! I am also not saying that all school shooting tragedies are the result of bullying. However, mental illness has many forms and we have to step it up with our kids. We have to get nosy! We have to look into their schools, friends, and internet activities. Drugs are not the only things you have to look for anymore. We have parented our kids in a Dr.Phil age and while I'm not blaming Dr.Phil but we've left them to their own devices instead of shepherding them down the right path. They're KIDS; if we're not there for them then who is? The internet? Really is that the tool you want to use to parent your children? I'm not a perfect parent. A few years ago I often wondered if I was even a good one. I had a teenager that was wrecking havoc and a son who was undiagnosed and having melt downs left and right. And yes, my son does have ADHD. I know a lot of children are misdiagnosed with that but I'm telling you that out of the many children I have been around, baby sat for, and even the Child Care and ECE classes I have taken I can honestly say I have never encountered a child like my 7 year old. I don't like that he takes medicine but the schools can't do anything-he's not learning as he should, and without his non stimulant medicine he can't function. We can't go really too many places with my son and unless you are wanting to have a nervous breakdown-Walmart is off limits. However, I am his mother and I love him and my daughter very much. I didn't bring them into this world to bury them or see them fail.
Folks get involved with your children. I know bills have to be paid and the economy sucks. However, you only get to be a parent for a little while. It's your responsibility to make sure you give them all the tools they need to grow into a stable functioning member of society and can support themselves. It's up to us to demand that our schools are funded so that teachers and staff can do the very best by our children and can pay attention to them.
I don't know what went on in this young man's head. He had written poems on his Facebook page and I just am left to wonder, who never noticed this kid? Who didn't see that his appearance had changed, his moods and attitude had changed, and he had withdrawn himself from things and people. I say this because on every Suicide hotline checklist-it's always those things that people look for when assessing if a person is depressed. Not all depressed people want to kill people. I don't want to get that stigma going. This boy will no doubt spend the remainder of his life behind bars or in some sort of institution. Parents will miss the children that this young man took from them. I like so many others just want to know what was in that gray area that led this young man to commit such a horrible crime and to have done one of the worst things a person can do: Take a life.
People pay attention to your children and students.