again the seasons have changed, pages have fallen from
the calendar and sand has poured the hourglass, blah, blah,
blah. Its school time again!! At a recent training event,
one of the Administrators phrased it this way, "We have
assembled to execute another frontal assault on ignorance."
I like that image. Generals, soldiers and cooks massed to carry
the torch of knowledge into the darkness of the unknowing.
If only "not knowing" were our only enemies
and the three Rís were our only objectives. Unfortunately,
schools in Arkansas and Florida could not get through the final
month of last school year without violence. We were unable to
even make it through the summer without another school shooting
in Washington. The image of warfare should be a metaphor, not
reality. It should refer to books, not bullets. What are we to
do, then? Wave the white flag and surrender? By no means!!!
An old proverb says, "It is better to light a single
candle than to curse the darkness." There are two
important elements in this proverb that I had not seen until
recently. First, someone had to admit that there was darkness
before anyone thought of lighting the candle.
There are still too many schools (students, teachers, board
members) who think, "It cannot happen here." (map
of School Shootings) There
should be no alarm, panic or paranoia; but admitting that darkness is
all around us and applies to everyone is the first step in finding
solutions. As institutions of learning, we must be proactive in
admitting the potential for violence in every classroom. Secondly,
someone had to have a match to light the candle. To "Be
prepared" is more than a motto. It is a way of life. We have
fire extinguishers that are never used and life jackets that get never
get wet, yet there is no question that their presence is absolutely
necessary. Crisis plans and violence prevention training, hopefully,
will never be used. However, their necessity should be as accepted as
the fire extinguisher and the life jacket.
Frank G. Green
Keys To Safer Schools