Parents make moves to protect kids after school shootings

Parents make moves to protect kids after school shootings
MikeGunner / Pixabay

If you’re terrified of something happening, what makes more sense to you: Actually doing something about it or hoping someone else will do something?

Following Uvalde, just the latest school shooting, there appear to be parents who may want gun control but are doing something else in the meantime.

The alarming nature and the frequency of the shootings have led some parents to feel as though the onus is on them to make changes to protect their children in the absence of a guarantee that their state or federal government will take immediate steps to prevent gun violence.

“To just send my child to school day after day and just cross my fingers day after day?” said Tracy L.M. Norton, who lives in East Islip, New York. “That’s no way to live.”

Norton is among parents making changes that include switching to homeschooling, buying bulletproof backpacks and checking if there are guns in homes where their kids might be playing with friends.

She has always been a proponent of public schools. But after the shooting at the Buffalo supermarket that left 10 dead and then the Uvalde massacre, she and her husband decided that as of this fall, their 8-year-old, Elizabeth, will be homeschooled.

“We really felt backed into a corner,” Norton said, as if “there really is no safe place to have our daughter in public spaces for extended periods of time.”

Now, I’ve got a few thoughts on this.

First, I’ve got to point out that there are nearly 131,000 schools in the United States from kindergarten through 12th grade with an average of 527 students as of 2019. That means there are roughly 69 million kids enrolled in school in the United States.

What happened in Uvalde was awful, but statistically, your kids aren’t likely to see anything like that at their school.

So why are parents terrified? Because the media has told them to be scared.

I recently saw a tweet where the writer argued almost everyone in the US has been directly touched by mass school shootings, despite the fact that since Columbine, you’re looking at just 169 people killed in such events.

The truth is that the media has created this school shooting paranoia that has basically immobilized the nation. Parents are terrified of schools not because of the very real problems in those schools, but because of phantom threats like this.

Now, with all that said, if you’re still scared something will happen to your child, then I applaud your decision to be proactive. While it’s a shame bulletproof backpacks are needed, there are worse things you could send your kids to school with.

Homeschooling is one of those things that will protect your child from more than a school shooting, so again, I applaud being proactive.

These are not horrible decisions, even if you’re not paranoid about school shootings.

The problem I have, though, is that when people allow fear to drive their lives, are they even really living anymore?

I homeschool my daughter. It wasn’t out of some gross concern over school shootings. It had everything to do with the fact that her school couldn’t figure out how to deal with COVID and I figured if I was going to have to teach her anyway, I’d rather have some say in what’s being taught.

Yes, Common Core sucks.

Anyway, it wasn’t fear that drove my decision, though I do rest a bit easier knowing that she’s not likely to be shot in a school shooting.

But I also hate to break it to these parents, even if they got all the gun control they could successfully get, their precious babies wouldn’t be any safer. They wouldn’t be because the root problem still isn’t being addressed.