There was a time when it was incomprehensible that a child would be targeted for deliberate violence in one of our public schools. Unfortunately, that day has long passed.
We think of school shootings and violence as a largely modern phenomenon, but a brief Google search showed that Pontiac’s Rebellion School Massacre occured in 1764. Seventeen-sixty four. Let that sink in for a moment.
When I first saw learned of this incident, I was flabbergasted. However, in a sickening way, it kind of makes sense. Most parents consider their children their most precious and valuable assets. Many would gladly give their lives to protect their children and this attitude is exactly what makes schools such good targets for madmen and terrorists! There is simply no better way to hurt a community than to attack it’s most vulnerable and innocent members.
It makes me shudder to think how fortunate we are to have not had more violence toward such easy targets.
Some schools names are permanently enshrined in our collective consciousness: Columbine High School, the Amish School in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, Heritage High School (Conyers, Georgia), Virginia Tech, and others. However, take a look at this list. I don’t generally like to use Wikipedia for a source, but I find that they tend to run complete lists to use as a jumping off point for research. By my count there have been roughly 280 school shootings in the United States. That doesn’t include issues with fighting, bullying or other weapons, such as knives, etc.
One of the greatest advantages in safety that homeschooling allows is that it disperses the children to multiple locations, with many having only a few children, not hundreds in one location. Even when we attend co-op classes, there are generally fewer than 20 kids around and lots of parents around to keep an eye on them. We also don’t have a sign out that announces that children are meeting there during the week. We stay pretty low key.
Fewer kids and families that know one another (and are aware of each other’s family situations) helps to keep our little group of kids a pretty non-exciting target. The fact that our group of families are pretty security conscious and includes a law enforcement officer is helpful also. That being said, no situation is perfect. We will always have to keep our eyes open collectively–just in case. But, we are comfortable and willing to do that.
But, what about bullying? As a former public and private school teacher, I can tell you that it is rampant and can get completely out of hand. Often administrators and teachers feel absolutely hamstrung by parents who don’t believe that their children could ever misbehave. Even those who try to handle it cannot be everywhere. However, many teachers are so overwhelmed or burnt out that they don’t even try. Bullying is just a part and parcel of our out of whack culture that praises the violent and obscene instead of character and morals.
My kid was bullied in a school that I taught at and was physically at every day. My kid was blamed for having lashed out after being repeatedly bullied by a kid who was a known bully. Even though I was there, watching and monitoring kids all day long, my kid was targeted.
For my family, that was the last straw. It is just not acceptable that my children face bullying during the school day. It’s not acceptable that schools don’t do enough to stop it–to call students and their parents out on the carpet when it occurs. Our society and our schools talk a good game, but where are the results. How many teens have to commit suicide before we do something radical?
Please don’t think that I am totally down on public and private schools. As far as school safety, they are usually working quite hard to guarantee every child’s safety. But, on the subject of bullying, I don’t think they are making any difference. That’s just my opinion and it’s okay to disagree with me. I am not bashing any family who chooses not to homeschool. Every family has different needs at different times in their lives. I don’t judge.
But, I keep my children in an environment that I have more control over.
Does School Safety influence your decisions toward education?
To see other posts in this series:
Why Homeschool? Academic Excellence
Why Homeschool? Appropriate Socialization
Why Homeschool? Child Led Learning
Why Homeschool? Learning Styles & Multiple Intelligences
Why Homeschool? Life Long Learners
Till next time,
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