My son came home from high school yesterday extremely upset. He had learned about a school shooting on social media almost minutes after it happened. He told me he was scared. He knows kids at the school where the shooting happened, and so do I.
As the afternoon unfolded, I checked in with friends who have children at the school and waited anxiously for them to respond. I watched the news reports that showed traumatized students, parents, and even visibly shaken law enforcement. This was a tragedy our community had never wanted to endure and it felt unfathomable. My emotions ranged from sadness to anger.
As a working mother, I have always wanted to trust that school is a safe place to send my children when I'm a work. I want to know that a troubled teenager who has been expelled from school does not have access to an assault rifle and will harm my child as he innocently walks out of school for a fire drill. How can I balance work and family when I'm worried about my children's safety in what should be one of the safest places in America -- school?
Something needs to change.
Watching the faces of parents on television waiting for their children was beyond painful. And to envision the faces of those parents whose children never met up with them. I just can't.
As a nation, we urge employers to come up with family-friendly policies so we can give our best to our employers and our families. We reward companies who show support for employees with labels like Great Places to Work. We give our schools grades and hold them to a standard of education. But what about our children's safety when they're at school. We have not done enough to make our schools the safest they can be at a time when mental health concerns are soaring and assault weapons are too easy to get.
This time, let's do more than say prayers for the families of the victims of the shooter. Let's look at making high-level policy changes that protect our children and give parents better peace of mind for their children's safety. I know anything can happen on any given day and we can't bubblewrap our kids and protect them from the world.
But the real world is getting way too violent. So let's try. For all those families who lost their children yesterday, let's try.