Tomorrow will be a difficult day. Just like after 9/11, when we welcomed children back to school, who had friends and neighbors who had suffered a tragic loss, we will once again be taking special care of your children.
Your children’s teachers are “first line responders” in the sense that they look out for your child’s emotional and physical well-being. I can only imagine that the teachers and administrators who lost their lives Friday did not think about doing something heroic, but acted on their instinct to protect the children; Just like each of you would risk your life for your child.
As we look into your children’s eyes tomorrow, we’ll be checking to make sure that they feel safe and secure. I know that the school and the district will reexamine the security plans already in place to improve them even more. We practiced a lock down drill only last week. Now the drills will take on a new significance to both faculty and children.
As we look into your children’s eyes tomorrow, we’ll be seeing you, the parents. Those of us who have the privilege, pleasure, and responsibility of being with your children each day won’t speculate what we’d do in the same situation. The reaction of the teachers in Connecticut was not written into a contract, part of negotiations, or even the new state mandated teacher evaluation….it is who we are.
And so, as we look into your children’s eyes tomorrow, we’ll be seeing our own children. But we’ll know that our children’s teachers would “take a bullet” for our children, protect our children at all cost, and we won’t worry- maybe a little- knowing that a teacher, any teacher, would act on instinct to protect our/your children.
May God bless the families who have suffered an unimaginable loss. And may God send strength to our political leaders to find the courage to do what is right…at any cost….just like the teachers in Connecticut did.
Doug Weisberger is a 5th grade teacher at Deerfield School, in Short Hills, New Jersey, and the father of 3 children. The views expressed are his own.