This Isn’t About Politics


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Did you know that since 2013, there have been nearly 300 school shootings in America — an average of about one a week?  Well, 10 days ago there was a mass shooting just miles from our home.  17 innocent lives were lost.  You hear about things like this in the news all the time, but when it’s in your backyard, you can’t help but realize that it could have been your children.

Since the shooting, my social media feed has been full of political posts.  One side, blaming the other for everything and anything they can.  I’ve gotten into heated discussions with friends, acquaintances and even complete strangers over the situation because believe it or not, this is not about politics.  This is about creating a safer place for our children.  It’s time we stopped seeing each other as a political party and started coming together as a country to protect our kids and our teachers. Enough is enough.

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Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

After watching the news, I was completely inspired by the students, teachers and parents of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.  While they are dealing with so much more than anyone should ever deal with, they have decided to channel their anger and fear and grief into a movement.  They want to make a change and make sure that this never happens again.  They are the reason that we need to do something. They are setting the example and it’s time we followed!

Why Should Our Teachers Live in Fear?

I have a lot of friends who are teachers.  I admire each and every one of them. It’s not the most glamorous job and it won’t make you rich, but it gives you the ability to nurture, educate and play a pivotal role in a child’s life.  When my friends started their teaching careers, I doubt any of them imagined that they would be discussing whether or not they should have a gun in their classroom or whether or not they would throw themselves in front of a group of children, to save them from a bullet.  And why should they have to?  Why should they have to fear for their lives and the lives of their students because we as a country can’t get our act together?

My friend Eden posted her feelings on Facebook the other day and I imagine that it’s what a lot of teachers are feeling right now.

“Here I am. Real and raw. No sleep last night. My mind won’t stop. As I write this I sit in the parking lot of the school I’m visiting today to see my students. The first day I will actually be face to face with my ‘kids’ since a school around the corner became the latest national tragedy. I’m scared. I’m distraught. No, I don’t teach at Douglas, but we are all Douglas. …I teach virtually… I visit my students multiple days a week, here in Broward, at their school. Days where I walk on and off campus alone, since some days I may not be there the full day.  I’m scared. Your kids teachers are scared. Yes, we’ve drilled. Yes, we’ve prepared. But are we really ever prepared? Should I have to go to work with a lump in my throat? Should our kids have to know which closet will hold more of us? Should this have to be our new normal? What will I say to my ‘kids’? Yes, they are my ‘kids’, all 148 of them. What will they say to me? What questions will they ask? How will I answer?” – Eden Katz, Teacher

Like most teachers, would Eden do everything in her power to save her kids?  Absolutely, I have no doubt that they would.  Should they have to?  Should any teacher have to give their lives and leave their own families behind because we as a society haven’t figured out how to keep these lunatics out of our schools?

School is supposed to be a safe place.  When I drop my girls off at school each day, I used to feel confident.  I knew they were going to see their friends and learn new things and would come home and tell me every detail about their day. But things are different.  Our kids aren’t just learning math and science anymore. They’re learning what to do if a shooter enters the building.  They are being taught how to hide under tables and what the safest evacuation route is, should they need to get out quickly.  My 8 year old is going to school every day, wondering if there will be a drill or if she’ll have to put those new skills to use, in a real life experience. And all I can think about is, why is my 8 year old not running around on a playground, having fun, instead of fearing what could be?

For me, this isn’t a political debate. I don’t want to hear about how the other side is causing this. I don’t want to hear whose fault it is.  I want us all to take a lesson from the kids at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and do something about this, so that it doesn’t happen again.  Instead of arguing about your political beliefs, find something in common and come up with a way that we can prevent this from ever happening to another child, another teacher, another school.  See our government as a tool, not as an enemy.  Use that tool to create change, no matter what party you are affiliated with.

So How Do We Make a Change?

That’s up to you.  I recommend starting a conversation amongst your community, getting a group together and then reaching out to your local politicians. Visit your local schools and see what you can do, together.  Talk to your kids.  There is nothing more important than preparing them, without scaring them.  Make sure they know that if they see or hear something, to say something… to a teacher, their principal and especially you.  Getting into heated political debates on social media is not the answer.  Instead, spend your time and energy really making a difference.  Our kids deserve it.  Our teachers deserve it.  We deserve it.

*Featured Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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Hello There!

I'm so honored that you've found us! I'm Heather, a Mom of 3 who blogs about parenting, food, occasional travel and how I overcame my daily struggle with anxiety. I miss sleeping and rely on coffee and laughter to get me through the day. I hope you enjoy and visit often!

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  1. It is so sad to see young lives nipped in the bud. Equally exasperating to note politicians using these incidents as a platform for their own vested interests. As a community people need to put their foot down on this.

  2. It’s heartbreaking how many lives we lost because of school and mass shootings that shouldn’t be happening in the first place. We should establish laws to make teachers, students, and their families safe again.

  3. A lot of my friends are teachers and I am terrified for them! I can’t imagine having that kind of stress every time you go to work and I work in healthcare. We are lucky in that we work behind lots of locked doors but I feel like most of our teachers and students are sitting targets!

  4. I don’t go back and forth with people on social media period. I don’t care what the topic is. We are heavily engaged in our kids school.

    My son is in private Christian school and that gives me greater comfort. He is in the 8th grade.

    My daughter is in Kindergarten in public school. I worry a bit more. It’s a mess and I live in the DC area.

  5. As a mom, seeing this happening in USA made my heart aches. I have a lot of friends and relatives there and it is just so heartbreaking. I’ve seen close friends who are now feeling so scared for the safety of their children in school. I can’t imagine but I love your honest post here and to me, it is not about politics too it is about protecting our children.

  6. School should be a safe place for our kids! I am not into politics, but I don’t understand why anybody could get access to purchase or use guns easily, especially at young age.

  7. You are right about this not being about politics. Something has to be done to make teachers and students feel safe again whenever they go to school. So much has been lost because of this and it’s about time we did something about it.

  8. My first year of teaching was Columbine; I am now in my 20th year for teaching.
    It has been like this my entire career is the bad news.
    But the good news is that – as one of the eloquent students from that injured school says – kids have also grown up with this and are now fighting back, because they are old enough to fight back and fresh enough not to “know” that things are not supposed to change so quickly.

  9. The day of the Florida shooting I received a text from my son saying a kid bought a gun to school. I texted him back saying “I know. I’m watching it on the news. Florida is all over the news.” He wasn’t talking about Florida, he was talking about HIS school. My thoughts shifted from something I’m watching on the news to home. Fortunately, the kid was taken into custody without incident. It’s not a conversation I ever imagined we’d have with our children but here we are.

  10. Thanks for sharing something that hits so close to home for you. I believe we can make changes that don’t infringe on the gun rights of law-abiding citizens. What I don’t like though is that many don’t even want to listen to possible solutions and jump to extreme conclusions. I feel if you use your guns in a legal way, you shouldn’t feel threatened that your gun might be taken away. I feel restrictions need to be made on who has access to a gun and a system needs to be put in place to beef up our schools, install the appropriate devices and protections to make sure all schools are safe and regulations are followed. There’s so much you can do, but everyone is taking an extremist viewpoint and frankly its getting us nowhere.

  11. Schools really should be a safe place for everyone. More security measures is the easiest plan of action in my opinion.

  12. I love this post, it’s true to the core. We have to move and do something about this, even starting small can lead to a huge step towards finding that peace that our teachers and our kids need.

  13. It’s a very tragic thing. Just this past week there have been 4 arrests made in our community, at the local high schools and one middle school, where kids were talking about doing a repeat. At one house they actually found all sorts of guns in the boys bedroom. (CRAZY!) It’s not politics, it’s about protecting the students, and the lives of those in the schools. No one ever thought about anything like this happening. School is supposed to be a safe haven, and it’s time to make it one. I have no idea what that that would look like, because everyone seems to have a different idea.

  14. I can’t even imagine the fear those poor students and teachers felt that day. Here in Ireland we don’t have guns, and I’m glad of this. I’ve never felt unsafe for us not having them. You’re so right though, it isn’t about politics. I think people just use that as an excuse to try and press their agenda on others.

  15. The whole thing is awful. I can’t even imagine what those kids went through that day. I had to have talks with my own kids about what to do in that situation and that breaks my heard that I even had to have that conversation with them.

  16. I don’t discuss politics and you are right, protecting our children is not nor should it ever be political. Isn’t it ironic how much teachers are expected to do – buy their students supplies, stand in front of bullets, teach, etc – and yet so many continue to criticize them. It’s a shame.

  17. It breaks my heart that there have been so many school shootings this year and we’re literally only two months into 2018. It pains me so much every time I turn on the news to see yet another tragedy.

  18. I like you wonder every time I send my six and eight year old to school if I will see them again. They have to live in fear. Things need to change, and you’re right it’s not about politics it’s about compassion. If you are okay with this happening again and again and don’t want change, there is something wrong with you.

  19. Yes, I saw this in the news. I hope the situation becomes better soonest. Perhaps the schools can be stricter in checking the students things and confiscating those that can harm others? This is really alarming. Hope your children will be always safe!

  20. With more and more news coming out about how the law officials didn’t do their job they are hired and trained to do it is time schools take matters into their own hands.

  21. It is so incredibly sad that this is happening so often. I have talked honestly to my kids about this. They say they do lock downs in their school as well. But I do worry about them whenever they leave for the day and hope everything will be okay.

  22. We are having major discussions in our community. We are also supporting the students in Florida as they continue to express themselves in this issue.

  23. It is such a sad story that keeps seeing to replay over and over. My husband used to be a teacher and I was always so scared for him

  24. Thanks for sharing such a personal and authentic post. I grew up a few miles from the Sandy Hook tragedy so I definitely understand the shock and sadness you’re going through at this time. I agree that this shouldn’t be about politics. It’s unfortunate that our lawmakers have failed to put politics aside to bring forth real legislation that can keep our school children safe. The students at Stoneman Douglas are a true inspiration. I hope that their enthusiasm and energy will allow us all to evaluate how we can come together to keep our communities safe.

  25. I know, I know, very sad story. I’m not over it yet and can’t believe what’s going on there in FL. Someone needs to be accountable for it all.

  26. Don’t believe in supporting blogs on tragedy. Becomes very divisive as is shown on tv all the time. We are pro gun. We own an AR 15 and it is not an automatic. Sad when false statements are made. Not what AR stands for. We hunt and put meat on our table. Terrible what happened.

    1. Post

      This isn’t about guns. In fact, that’s not even mentioned in my post. I’m wondering if you read my message prior to commenting?