It is difficult to work at a school in 2018. Today is the 47th day of 2018 and by the count of one watchdog organization, there have been 18 school shootings so far this year. That’s one shooting every 3 days. How do we begin to understand that?
I, like all of you, spent Wednesday night reeling from the story unfolding in North Broward County in Florida. But I was reeling not only from the tragedy of loss of life, but from the mounting feeling of emotional distance within me: I’ve seen so many of these stories in the past years that I worry that I could begin to become numb to them. People always say that those who believe that “that type of thing could never happen here” need only listen to residents of Columbine, of Newtown, of Blacksburg, and now of Parkland who believed the same. But another threat we all face is to allow empathy to evolve into apathy or lethargy. We must insist that tragedies remain tragic in our eyes and talk to our students and children about them.
At The Academy we always think about student safety but rarely talk about it openly. We feel that our community is somewhat insulated from this type of threat and that fear does not comport with the ethos of our school. But we do have mechanisms in place: locked doors, deadbolts in every room, lockdown procedures in place. In the coming weeks we will again discuss what The Academy should do to remain in touch with the reality of today while still remaining “The Academy,” and decide if any of our procedures need revision. I invite anyone with ideas to reach out to me: I am eager to listen and discuss them with you.
In the meantime let us remember the simple, universal truths that sustain us and upon which our school and community stand: love is more powerful than fear; together we are stronger than we are alone; all that we do is in service to supporting and nurturing these wonderful young people; and that our responsibility to make this world a better place than we find it is our most noble calling as human beings and citizens.