When I first started teaching, there was no safer place than a school room. My first year as a classroom teacher was in first grade. That year, the school was overflowing with students, so the six first grade teachers taught in two shifts in the small Sunday School rooms of the church next door. Of course, parents were not happy with that arrangement, and their dismay forced our principal to start searching for a better alternative. He and the school board soon found a big old rural school building a few miles down the road that had been closed for a while. Six large classrooms were cleaned up, and the first grades moved there. The remainder of that school year, we were alone with the children, just the teachers without administrators or any other kind of staff except for a janitor who arrived after the children left.
Schools, even out in the country, were safe then. No one ever thought otherwise.
|"Universe and Beyond" copyright MMSikes|
Some of the commentary I've heard over the weekend is thought-provoking and worrisome. Because we have a society of many people engrossed in social media, we no longer connect with one another face to face on a personal basis. In our little town, the once vibrant Kiwanis Club recently met its demise because younger people weren't interested in joining and the older members were literally dying out. One television commentator talked about the decline in church attendance--yet another place where people once socialized. Another concern mentioned often was the abundance of violent video games that have desensitized our children. Violence in television and in movies is abundant and can further desensitize our society.
In many ways, the Internet and social media have drawn us closer together, but have they also pulled us apart, leaving us in isolation before a monitor or cell phone? We text messages to one another while seated at the same dinner table with the recipients. What is that all about?
Are we now in an age of indifference to the feelings of others? Is that why bullying is more hurtful and prevalent than ever before?
What about school safety?
What about us?
--Mary Montague Sikes