There was a gun accidentally fired at my kid’s school yesterday. According to the official statements, a second grader brought it from home and was showing it to a friend in the bathroom when it discharged, injuring one child’s hand. The PE teacher applied first aid, notified security, and HPD and HEMSI were on site declaring the situation safe before I even got wind of any of it.
It was scary for Donnie and I for longer than I care to describe because all we knew when we first heard was that a kid brought a gun from home and accidentally shot a friend with non-life threatening injuries. We knew the school was safe but we had no idea if Wes saw the incident, we assumed he wasn’t the one injured because we hadn’t been notified, but was he scared? We didn’t rest easy until we had him home last night.
My brain was working overtime yesterday. As the day progressed things kept hitting me wrong as I watched our local community react. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but every time more information came out or more response was issued, I kept seeing reactions from people angry with the parents and angry with gun control laws and parents angry that the gun was able to get into the school at all and angry that no one noticed the kid even take it to PE where they’re not allowed bags etc etc etc. All of the outrage was hitting me wrong and I could not figure out why.
Then the superintendent sent a city-wide email last night about how they’re going to push a clear-backpack initiative and then people were angry about girl’s needing to hid feminine hygiene products and they were angry than anyone thought this was going to help and they were angry that we care more about clear backpacks than gun control and they were angry about the load this puts on poor families etc etc etc. And again…the outrage was hitting me wrong and I could not figure out why.
I was putting myself in the shoes of those teachers yesterday. The ones that heard the gunshot but didn’t know what was going on. The ones who are teachers and faculty at a US school in the wake of Sandy Hook and Parkland. They have plenty of mental pictures in their head of scared kids and teachers and the faces of parents whose children never came home. They know stories of teachers who died protecting their kids. All of that knowledge in their hearts at the moment they heard that sound. How fast did they see those faces from the news? How long before the could breathe again?
I was putting myself in the shoes of the Principal who had to make sure the teachers and the students in his building felt safe while working with HPD and HEMSI and while knowing the terrified parents were also all waiting for news at the edge of the school parking lot and beyond. He had to balance the timing of the statement to makes sure he got all of the right information but he couldn’t wait too long because rumours were swirling already. He had to get the wording approved by several law enforcement and school administrative officials I’m sure. 30 minutes after the incident I had an email from them. Yeah, I wanted one 15-20 minutes earlier, but I was actually amazed it came as fast as it did, when I really sat down to think about it.
I thought of our Superintendent who used to be the principal at this school. She knows many teachers and families and staff members. I thought of all of the hats she had to wear yesterday. She took this position with some messes already in place and now she has to be a friend, a Mom, a teacher, and an administrator all while leading the charge to calm a scared and angry community.
I thought of the people in the houses around the school. They knew something was going on, obviously, but did they have kids in the school too? Did they not and so have no way of getting any communication? Were they scared?
I thought of the parents at work far from the school. Parents who couldn’t leave work. Parents who probably left work to check out their kid even if maybe they did not have leave, or maybe had deadlines they were ignoring. My husband was a wreck and had difficulty even concentrating on work, I think of the many like him who had to balance fear and worry about kids while stuck at work.
I’m a worrier. Worrying is always my first response. I’m also an empath, and so I worry for others. I’m not saying I wasn’t angry – the first thing I did when I saw something on Facebook that said, “Can someone share information about the shooting at the school?” was scream at Donnie, “WHAT THE FUCK!? THERE WAS A SHOOTING AT WESLEY’S SCHOOL!” I proceeded to type the word “fuck” on twitter for several hours. I don’t use that word often, I save it for days when there’s a gun at my kid’s school.
I don’t know why the angry responses bother me. Honestly, I don’t. I guess in me, the worrying always leads the way. There are so many people I’m worried about and I want to hold them in my heart today. I want to send flowers to the school and give our Superintendent a hug. Hell, I want to hug every student and every teacher that walks through the doors. I’m hurt that someone’s carelessness at home ruined the sanctity of those walls and I’m grateful it wasn’t any worse.
I’m not saying people shouldn’t be angry. I’m always going to be the girl who wants to hug it out. Everyone is allowed their own response to fear and tragedy and worry. But to me – there are so many people to whom the ripples of anger will reach…people who are carrying the fear and worry of 700 students and families…and I guess I want to wrap them in love to protect them from the anger. I don’t know why, to be honest, I’m just a worrier and that’s how I worry. I worry that the angry facebook posts ripple towards the teachers and staff and the administrators who probably didn’t sleep at all last night, worrying about how to make their kids and the families feel safe again.
So my meditation for today is for the faculty and staff at Blossomwood Elementary school in Huntsville, AL. May they find time to take care of their own needs while they care for the needs of the hundreds of students and families at their school. I’m offering an intention to all of the families who can’t afford new backpacks, may we all work towards solutions to help those people in our communities. I’m holding scared kids and parents and teachers and worried community leaders in my heart and I’m reminding myself there are no perfect solutions that will make everyone happy and I trust that many of them are doing the best they can. I wrap them all in love and light today.