Center Grove High School
To the editor:
The shooting in Connecticut was incomprehensible. We will never understand how a supposedly sane and intelligent person could do this to innocent children.
That being said, this isn’t a problem that can be fixed with a Band-Aid. Shootings will not stop happening because of stricter gun laws and tighter security. What happened to this young man to push him so far over the edge? He was a decent student with no criminal history. He was quiet, awkward and shy. However, I am sure he showed signs of instability prior to this unthinkable act. Why did he not get the help needed?
I have been a teacher for 28 years and have seen and experienced many changes in education. We, as teachers, parents and community members, have stuck our heads in the sand too long when it comes to the mental health of our kids.
We must find these children early on. We must also get to them at a young age and give them the assistance and support they need. These kids have emotional disabilities and usually no discipline or attendance issues, so how do we keep them from slipping through the cracks unnoticed?
As a teacher, I know that my fellow teachers and counselors can only do so much in a 7.5-hour day. We have larger class sizes and caseloads. We put more demands on the kids: constant testing, state standards and expected behaviors.
We can help some of the kids, especially those who behave poorly and/or display signs of stress, anger, or kids who present as loners. Those are the kind of kids we know how to identify and help now, but what about the other children? The ones that don’t act out? The ones that are quiet?
In classes of 25 to 35 students, it is hard to know all of your kids on a personal level. If we could, we would get to know them and give individual attention, talk through their emotions or find them the counseling they so desperately need and deserve.
This is a public health crisis that has gone on way too long. So what can we do as responsible adults for all children? Contact your legislator to fund education properly and appropriate more funding for mental health awareness and resources.
Education has taken a beating the past few years in the form of fewer monies and higher demands. Teachers have been expected to do more with less. This means staffs are spread out among even more students than before.
You can help. The legislative session is gearing up to start. Please let your senator and representative know school districts need money to hire personnel to create smaller classes, as well as hire counselors and social workers.
Tell your legislators that these issues are important to you, your children and grandchildren. It is time for us to get our heads out of the sand and make a difference for all children. Their safety depends on us.