Education  
comments_image Comments

Today We Mourn

Amid the violence in Newtown, teachers stepped forward to protect their students -- at any cost.
 
 
Share

Photo Credit: Alberto Masnovo | Shutterstock.com

 

I had half a dozen interesting posts ready to go out today, but I decided it was inappropriate to return to business as usual after the tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

I postponed them. So you won’t be getting another post today.

This is a time to mourn, to reflect, to be still.

It’s a time to think about the heroic staff at the school who reacted immediately to protect their students.

It’s a time to think about the principal Dawn Hochsprung and the school psychologist Mary Sherlach. When the trouble started, they ran to the shooter instead of hiding.

I saw an interview with a teacher who was distraught. A reader saw the same interview and said this: “Did you happen to catch the interview with the one teacher (one amazing wonderful woman) who shepherded her class into a bathroom and kept them all assured that they would be ok? She told them, “i want you all to know I love you.” She expressed to the interviewer that her thinking was that she was afraid they would die and she wanted to make sure that if they were that the last thing they would remember hearing was not the gunshots, but the sound of someone telling them that they were loved. “This” in this era of teacher bashing.”

Last night I got an email informing me, “you lost a follower.” That’s when I found out that Dawn Hochsprung followed me on Twitter; she followed only 70 people. I was shaken.

Mostly what I thought about was the parents. I have a six-year-old grandson, and I was heartsick for those who lost their babies. Many years ago, one of my children died of leukemia, which was horrible, but how much worse to think that your precious son or daughter was murdered. What unfathomable madness. I don’t know how you live with that terrible knowledge. The pain is unbearable.

There is no way to make sense of what happened. I ask myself why anyone is allowed to have an assault weapon. I don’t know why. I ask why and how our society has become so desensitized to violence and at the same time so addicted to it.

I think of the violent video games, the violent movies, the violent conflicts in which we engage around the world. And I think about how many seriously disturbed people see violence as a route to infamy or attention or some fantasy in which they are a super-hero/villain.

We have a lot of thinking to do.

About violence. About our reckless media. About the true heroism of our educators. About how we change our ways of thinking and acting. About how we protect our children. About why we are obsessed about being number 1 instead of spending more time repairing the serious ills of our society.

I don’t have the answers.

I just think it’s time to start asking the right questions.

Diane Ravitch is Research Professor of Education at New York University and a historian of education.

 
See more stories tagged with: