I've been struggling a bit to write this post. I don't even know if I should write it. I may not even post. It most certainly doesn't fit into my typical realm of home decorating and DIY...
I know that I haven't been around for the past several days, which is pretty abnormal for me. There have been some things going on in my work community that I've been having some trouble dealing with.
On Friday afternoon (the 16th), we let school out at 2pm for Christmas Break. The staff then went to our Christmas party where we received some tragic news. Two students from our school, a 1st grade boy and 3rd grade girl, had been shot and killed by their mother upon arriving home. Their mother also shot their baby sister and her boyfriend before then killing herself. The 911 call was placed at 2:36. The bus got to town around 2:30. You may have seen this on the news, depending on where you live. ABC and MSN both had articles online about this shooting.
While I teach junior high, in a K-8 school of roughly 140 kids, something like this hits hard. I would expect it to hit hard in any school, but in a small, close-knit town, it seems pretty Earth-shattering. You know all of the kids, and if you don't "know" them, you still know their faces.
Those poor kids didn't even have a chance. We are all in shock, disbelief. We opened up the school today for grief counseling for the kids, which proved to be a good idea. We had a pretty steady stream of students that came to talk, and it was good to be surrounded by the community feeling exactly how I am. It was hard to talk about, but it was just comforting to be there.
I just cannot get my head around why a mother would kill her own children. And I never expected something like this to happen at my school. While student teaching 3 years ago, my cooperating teacher told me that, unfortunately, I would most likely experience a student's death within my teaching career. If I didn't, I was extremely lucky. I never in a million years was prepared for this.
There are places to take your children if you don't want them anymore. Every single teacher at my school would've happily taken those kids if it meant keeping them safe. I'm so angry at this woman for what she did; I'm trying not to be angry, to rationalize it or forgive, but I cannot seem to get past the anger yet. I'm so sad for the milestones that those children will never get to experience. I'm sad for the empty desks that will be in two classrooms at my school when we return from break, for the friends and families that are missing those little angels. Maybe I will reach forgiveness eventually, but right now I can't seem to see that point.
I know that now, more than ever, sometimes my school and my classroom is the only safe place some of my students might have. Is the missing homework assignment really that big of a deal when a kid might have a home that they are scared to spend time in? This puts some things into perspective. It's my job to make my students feel loved and safe while they are with me because I might be the only person who makes them feel that way. I hope that all of them know that I love them and that they are special to me.
To Skyler and Ian: I pray that you feel safe and loved up in heaven. You will be missed.
1 day ago