“We are tired of fearing for our lives.
We are tired of prayers without action.”
A young self-proclaimed teen activist made this statement after the deadly shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday.
As the young teen explained, even the “active shooter drills” can be terrifying for students.
"I was terrified. There were countless days where I was afraid to go to school … it wasn't your school today, but you have no way of knowing if it's going to be your school tomorrow…."
She went on to say,
"I was 10 years old when Sandy Hook happened, now 10 years later the same thing is happening and nothing has been done to stop children from dying in schools."
Yes, it is hard to imagine that in 10 years we have done absolutely nothing to keep children safe in school. Politicians are lining up to blame each other. Yet will anything really change? Probably not.
Prayers are good, but as this young adult points out, we need to do more.
What Should We Do?
Students frequently fear going to school. People march in the streets and scream and yell for the “freedom” to buy more and more guns. Politicians argue and give speeches that accomplish nothing. More children die.
Most of the solutions being offered by politicians are worthless. As Zeeshan Aleem pointed out in one news article, handing out guns to teachers will not help and neither will turning the school into a windowless prison. Interesting article, I hope you read it.
So, what is the answer?
As a psychologist, I believe that you always need to look at the root cause of a problem or situation. Absolutely no 18-year-old should ever be allowed to buy an assault rifle with tons of ammunition. Yet, the problem is deeper than just getting guns off the street, but that’s a good place to start.
Something Needs to Change
If you look back at almost every school shooting, there were warning signs. We absolutely must stop ignoring these warning signs. The reports are sketchy on the news, but if the reports are accurate and the shooter actually cut his own face and bragged about it, that is a warning sign that should not have been ignored. If the shooter actually threatened another teen’s life or said, “I’m going to kill you.” That’s a warning sign. Such warnings should never be ignored. Yet, teens are afraid to report such actions. I can understand and sympathize with their fear. Our system frequently does not support the victim.
What if we had a national hotline for reporting questionable behaviors? What if when a student is threatened at school, they could call or text and report behavior that they feel might be dangerous?
What if it was totally anonymous? What if students felt safe to come forward and report questionable behavior? What if such calls were reviewed by actual mental health professionals with the training to know the difference between someone who needs help and someone who was just complaining?
Yes, I have no doubt that there would be several prank calls, but if investigating such calls for help could save children’s lives, wouldn’t it be worth it?
Yes, our thoughts and prayers are with the families in Uvalde and all families who have been touched by violence. Next, we need to stop the violence so that no more children or teachers die. Children shouldn’t be afraid to go to school.