Sandy Hook Made All Schools Feel Unsafe, But Arming Teachers Isn’t The Answer, Mom Says

Apr 30, 2013


The Sandy Hook Elementary School memorial in Newtown, Conn.
Credit Wikipedia Commons

I will never forget that awful December day. My daughter left to school and I turned on the TV. I stumbled upon something that read “School Shooting.” All I could think was that my little princess was at her school and that this could happen anywhere. As it was getting time to pick her up, I rushed a little more and could not wait to hear her voice and see her smile. As soon as I saw her, I felt an immense sense of relief and peace. Tears kept on coming down my face.

What was happening at Sandy Hook Elementary School was thousands of miles away, but it did not make a difference. I was a mom feeling as if I was right there. I was truly shocked, frustrated and angry. I could feel those parents’ hurt and anguish. Not to be able to know what’s going on, not to be sure if your child is safe, just the thought of not seeing my daughter again was too much.

I had lost my sense of peace and trust. How could her school be any better than Sandy Hook Elementary? Who could assure me that this would not happen here?

Our children are the most precious and invaluable thing we have, and we should make everything possible to give them a safe environment; however, allowing school personnel to carry concealed weapons is not the answer. What are we teaching our kids? That we can only protect ourselves with violence? That the only solution to a better world it’s to give everyone guns? As a civilized society, we need to show them that we can make rational decisions, and permitting firearms on school grounds it’s not one of them.

We need to focus on increasing campus security by requiring valid identification to anyone entering school grounds. Create a building-wide emergency alert that will make anyone aware of an intruder or extremely violent situation. We need to provide mental health counseling, build secure doors that can be locked down if needed, and prepare teachers with self-defense strategies in case of a violent situation. We need to urge our legislators to vote for stricter laws that will make it more difficult for people to acquire firearms for personal purposes. Laws that would require background checks, disclosure of previous violent charges, the creation of a national gun directory, and a mandatory psychological questionnaire that would determine if the person its fit to carry a weapon without supervision. Anything we do today, has the power to safeguard our children tomorrow, and prevent future tragedies like the one in Sandy Hook Elementary.

Our current school system has failed us in many ways. Teachers have been forced to concentrate on standardized testing, students are measured based on their testing skills rather than on their actual knowledge, and the school boards are seeking to tie teacher pay to student performance. Every day we witness how learning has taken a back seat to politics, regulations and budget. Parents and educators have endured these obsolete policies, and tried to make the best of them, for the sake of the students; however, none of them will tolerate an unsafe environment. As parents, we leave our most precious treasure in the care of the people that we trust the most. Every morning, we drop off our kids and watch them face the world on their own, and we can only get a sense of peace if we determine their atmosphere is a positive one.

What happens when this notion gets disrupted? How can parents feel ok with leaving their children at school when they are unsure that they will be protected? We regard our teachers and school administrators as responsible human beings, who will care for our children with the utmost respect, but we know they are not perfect, and neither are their surroundings. I used to have that naïve notion that my children would always be safe at their school because I was once a teacher and always felt safe there. We had the emergency call button right next to our desk, the security patrol was constantly going around campus making sure everything was good, and the location was in a safe residential neighborhood. But Sandy Hook Elementary had all those elements and that did not make any difference on that fateful morning.

Dee Trillo is a published lifestyle, fashion and beauty expert for online, on-air and print media. She is the writer behind the bilingual blog The Haute Frugalista. She's a Florida International University Linguistics and Modern Languages Phi Beta Kappa graduate. Trillo lives in Miami, and you can follow her via Twitter or Facebook.

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