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Exasperated and Broken Hearted

My posts are intended to be educational. Not political. I try to stay as far away from politics as possible. Unfortunately, education and politics have become inextricably linked in many ways these days. So, today I veer toward realm of politics.

Tuesday’s news goes far beyond politics. It is about common sense, common decency, assurances of safety. My heart is broken, yet again, with another mass school shooting; one that has shoved politics again into the face of our educational aspirations.

My heart is broken.

I was a proud public-school principal for eighteen years. Being a building principal is awesome in positive ways: in its potential for change, for the relationships, facilitating and celebrating student growth and success, for building community and school culture. It is also “awesome” in rather negative ways for the danger that lurks just beyond the campus boundary. The principal must be the champion of both possibility and safety. Sometimes, that safety rests beyond his or her reach.

My heart is broken.

Every day, for the entirety of my tenure as a building principal, I followed the same ritual. I’d pull into the parking lot, extinguish the engine and silently pray: “Please God, not here, not today.” And at the conclusion of each day, before starting the engine for my drive home, simply: “Thank you for hearing my morning prayer.”

Prayers were not sufficient this week in Uvalde, Texas, anymore that they were at Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018 or Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

These kids, their families and the communities that loved them, deserve more than well-intended prayers. They deserve action: action that clearly states that our liberty, our constitutional rights, cannot, must not, be subjected to the senseless deaths of innocent children. This cannot be what the founding fathers would have considered acceptable.

I am exasperated.

This post is not political. It’s educational. Under the threat of assumed constitutionally protected violence we cannot assure our nation’s children the education kids deserve. We can’t educate children when they are focused on whether today is their day to come face to face with violence. They deserve better.

It’s time. It’s high time to do what’s right. If the realization that there have been 212 mass shootings in the first 144 days of this calendar year isn’t sufficient motivation, imagine consoling the parents of a deceased seven-year-old child in Texas.

I am exasperated beyond words by our collective lack of action.

Enough is enough. The time to act is now. It can’t be about politics. It must be about decency and integrity: a term I define as “doing the right thing, even when it’s hard.”

My heart is broken. Mine must not be the only one.


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