From the minute I heard the news about the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, CT, I could not stop thinking about it. Numb and in disbelief and then reality set in for I was an elementary school teacher—a fact which made this evil seem even closer to me. It could have happened at my school. It could have been my class or other students. But thank God, it wasn’t. But for those little babies to have died in such a way is unthinkable to anyone. The principal, counselor and other teachers that lost their lives were heroes. And none of them had a chance for there is no chance when someone is wielding an assault gun. None.
I have had prior students that were documented over and over due to their violent behavior and some who were sullen were also documented by me. Yes, the principal knew about them and meetings were held to discuss this abnormal behavior and plans were laid out for courses of action. Were the parents notified? Yes but did most show up for the meetings? No or if they did, they were nonchalant about their children’s behavior. I followed these students as they progressed through my school and into middle school. Some changed but for the most part, their behavior only intensified into the danger zone. Again, teachers and administrators documented this behavior on permanent record cards and other mandated school documents.
Lost track of some of these students who by the way were all males—odd but true. Six of them turned out to be imprisoned. Did I know that would happen? Yes as did the teachers before and after me who had them predicted their fate which came true, sadly. And sadly, why weren't these students' permanent record cards checked yearly for intensifying violent behavior or that which was out of the norm? Principals and teachers checked them but any criminal sector of society cannot for these students are considered minors and it's illegal to look at these record cards. It is time for the privacy act towards these documents be changed for lives could be saved. That is out of my control: The law needs changed toward this and now. Perhaps you are not aware of this privacy act but I urge you to think about the consequences of it and having it changed. Only those in the federal government can act on changing the privacy act re students' permanent record cards.
I want to say that if you have a child that is misbehaving out of the norm, please see it as a big red flag. Getting help for him or her is nothing to be ashamed of but rather an act of helping them survive and cope in today’s world. My own sons went to the school where I taught and I told every teacher that they had to please let me know if anything irregular came up: I wanted to know. Yes, many kids change for the better with help and vigil. But others fall through the cracks and become more violent. The students I had that became imprisoned had major documented accounts on their permanent record cards.
There is no undo button on what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary last Friday. It was the most heinous and evil act ever and I grieve over those that lost their lives as do you. A normal mind does not premeditate such horror or act it out. I weep for the little lives lost as well as the adult ones.
May God have mercy on the souls that perished that day. I will never forget it nor will you. Keep your children to your heart, tell them that you love them and hope that this horror is never repeated.