Daily Archives: March 16, 2009

School shootings: let them fight

In the last dozen years, our nation has seen a spat of school shooting. While each one is a little different in nature, every parent cringes when they hear something about school shootings. We expect our schools to be a safe haven for our kids so that they can learn; after all, that’s why we send them to school.

Since 1996, there have been 34 school shootings in the United States alone. (www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0777958.html) Bear in mind these are reported shootings only.

So, how safe are our schools?

The truth of the matter is that no matter what we do, if someone is determined, they’ll find a way to make it happen; Even if the school uses a concrete wall and barbed wire. One principal I talked to suggested that the consistent thing about the violence is that there has been an oddity, something out of routine before it all happened.

But I got to thinking…we never worried about that sort of stuff when I was a kid. Neither have I ever heard my parents or aunts and uncles ever talk about that. Neither, did we ever see anyone waving a gun around in school on Little House on the Prairie.

So what changed?

Thanks for asking–I’ll tell you what I think it is. We’ve pushed the issues of tolerance and bullying and many schools now expel kids for nearly looking at another one cross-eyed. I say, let them fight…but don’t send them home for the entire year for doing so!

When I was in school, if you fought, you went home for 3 days. A fistfight didn’t ruin your entire educational year, and it relieved a lot of stress. I recall, also, many times teachers and coaches would hold back…just for a minute or two, enough to let each of the combatants get in a lick or two. And then they’d break it up.

The combatants could blow off some steam. Maybe get a bloody nose and a black eye in the process and neither of them really get the “win.” Teachers, coaches, principals, administration and parents then all used the experience as an educational process—a teaching moment. They can’t take teaching moments if they are ducking and running for cover from bullets.

Where I went to school, you could probably have found several guns in the cars of the students on any given day. It was a rural school and many of the boys were avid hunters, shotguns on gunracks in the back of their trucks. No telling how many were there at the start of hunting season.

But we never worried about someone bringing a gun to school with the purpose of shooting someone.

Granted, I’m not a psychologist, nor do I play one on TV…but it seems like that could be a possible solution to SOME of the ills at school…yes?


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