Except when they take a gun to school and end up shooting their teacher. And it appears to be a deliberate act.
In this particular case, the child IS a child…age wise, at least. He’s 6 years old. A first grader.
I remember being in the first grade 65+ years ago. And I can tell you with certainty me or any of my classmates would have never thought about doing such a thing. My mother was a kindergarten teacher for some 25 years, and I doubt seriously any of her students would have thought of it either.
For those of you who haven’t heard about this, let me tell you about it.
January 6, 2023 started out as a regular school morning at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia. The day ended tragically early when a 26 year old first grade teacher had a gun pointed at her by one of her students. That student pulled the trigger of the 9 millimeter handgun and shot her, the bullet going through her hand and into her chest.
Her entire class witnessed this. How do you think they felt? Scared to death? Afraid they’d be next? Never wanting to go to school again?
The teacher was in critical condition for several days, and finally released 13 days later, still but faces a long stretch of physical therapy as well as psychological counseling. The bullet is still in her body, which may result in more surgery.
And the shooter? Because he’s so young, we don’t know much. What we do know is that he is said to have a severe disability (which can’t be named because of his age) and because of the IEP (individual educational plan) he is under, he is supposed to be accompanied daily to school with either his mother or father.
This particular week neither of his parents went with him.
His mother purchased the gun legally and has stated it was kept on a high shelf in the closet with a trigger lock. Maybe I’m a skeptical person, but I just can’t imagine how a 6 year old could’ve gotten a gun that was stored on a high shelf in a closet and then taken off the trigger lock. By himself. But then again, I guess anything is possible.
But things don’t add up for me. There has to be more to the story.
Then there’s the reaction of the school administration. Which is unconscionable.
In a news conference on Wednesday January 25 the teacher’s attorney stated that on that day the teacher told an administrator the child had “threatened to beat up another child.” Administration didn’t remove the child from class or call security. They ignored it.
An hour later another teacher told the administrator she believed the student had put a gun in his pocket and taken it out to recess. The administrator downplayed the possibility, saying the boy had “little pockets.” Again the threat was ignored.
Shortly thereafter another teacher told administrators another child described as “crying and fearful” had informed the teacher this 6 year old showed him the gun at recess and threatened to shoot him if he told anybody. Nothing was done.
The teacher also texted a loved one before the shooting that the boy in her class was armed and that school officials were failing to act.
Another employee asked administration for permission to search the boy and his backpack, but permission was denied. He was told to wait the situation out, because the school day was almost over.
Well, it was almost over.
Because an hour later the student pointed his gun and shot his teacher. Police have described the shooting as intentional. The teacher somehow was able to evacuate her classroom while another teacher restrained the 6 year old shooter. She and the other teacher are the heroes of this story.
The student is currently still in a local hospital undergoing treatment.
This is without a doubt one of the most tragic shooting events I’ve heard about. I cannot begin to even imagine how these events unfolded. How the school administration time and again failed not only the teacher who was almost killed, but the other students, as well as a student who clearly was in need of help. Our teachers do not get paid enough as it is, and certainly not enough to have to deal with situations such as this.
This is an example not only of total lack of common sense, as well as lack of concern for others, but a huge failure on the part of this school system to take precautions to ensure the safety not only of their students, but their teachers as well. I’ve heard that metal detectors have now been ordered for the schools in this district. It’s like the old saying of “closing the barn door after the horses escape.”
Why does it take such a tragedy in order to do what should have been done before? Are our schools more concerned about budgets and grades than they are about keeping their students safe? Are they more concerned about upsetting one student and their parents that the remainder of their students are put at risk?
Public outcry in this situation is resulting in change. Administrators are being terminated or resigning, hopefully to be replaced by others who will make better decisions in the future.
But this is not enough. It’s a start, but we need to learn from it and do things differently. I am a huge supporter of metal detectors in our schools, as well as armed security guards. It’s sad that it’s come to this, but we cannot ever afford to put a price tag on the value of our children and grandchildren. It’s time to make our voices heard over and over again until we get results.
Parents, grandparents, and concerned citizens, please speak up for what is right. For protection of our young ones who are the future of this country. They deserve the right to learn without fear, and the right to be in a classroom where they don’t have to worry about someone harming them, whether it be another student, or heaven forbid, someone from the outside.
This could happen in any school, in any district, and in any state.
Let’s all do what we can to stop this senseless violence against our most precious and defenseless population, our children. We must leave them a world that’s better than we’re seeing now. And we’re the only ones who can do it.
** Note: The details in this post were taken from news sources readily available online from WAVY-TV, CNN, CBS, and NBC. Please feel free to read the stories for yourself.