In December of 2012, just a few months ago, we lost our children…and they do become ours in time of tragedy…to a school shooting, and we asked the question, “Are Our Schools Safe Enough?”
Today, we’ve lost even more of our children, this time to a tornado that (according to media reports) could not have been survived without a storm shelter), and again we ask the question, “Are Our Schools Safe Enough?”
Of course, the answer is no, and the answer to that other question nagging you somewhere in your mind…yes, it is your fault and mine.
Schools are different from our homes, even different from our churches, because schools are built with taxpayer dollars and when the sun is shining and times are good, none of us want to see our dollars “wasted.” I certainly don’t.
As I’ve already written, I also don’t want our schools to take on the appearance of a prison in the name of safety although that decision is certainly up to the taxpayers in any given school district.
I obviously do, however, think that taxpayers should be aggresive enough to be sure that the schools their children attend give those children the most protection possible without robbing them of their childhood. This is SO DIFFICULT in protecting children from school violence…but the truth is that it doesn’t have to be quite so difficult in terms of weather.
So, let’s talk storms…
Of course, the odds of a tornado making a direct hit on a school building during a school day are not great, and taxpayers may not feel that the threat is great enough to even worry about it. HOWEVER, when new school buildings are being built, maybe it would be wise to simply use a design that includes some type of safe area, maybe even the old school with a basement design.
I do realize that a basement would not have necessarily saved those children who drowned in their elementary school in Oklahoma, but now that we know that broken pipes can be deadly, that might be a scenario to address as well.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am in no way advocating that taxpayers should run out and build new schools; I don’t believe that at all. However, when money is being spent, I do think it might be worth our time to at least consider spending it on something that just might save lives as opposed to spending on other things.
Of course, as I always remind all of us, it is those who pay the bills who need to be involved in these types of discussions. And it is those who pay the bills who really have the final say in the matter. I happen to be more about kiddos than I am gilt, but then I am only a single vote in one single school district.
I will tell you, however, that my worst days as a teacher in a public high school were those days when I lined young people against an inside wall and reassured them while living in total terror, knowing that there was really nothing at all that I could do to protect them should our building take a direct hit.
As for the darling children I have featured in this article…well, they are simply precious little third graders, the children and grandchildren of my friends, children who are exactly the same age as those lost to a monster tornado that hit the school where they were simply doing whatever it is that third graders do in this country on what they thought was a very normal school day.