In many cities around the country, the new school year is about to start or has already begun. We will send our children off to start their journey through the educational system with hugs and smiles, excitement and well wishes, new clothes and books and computers. It’s an exciting time in their lives and the lives of their parents.
Sadly for this country it is also a time of our greatest fear. Our schools have become hunting grounds for those with grudges against the system that they perceived failed them, the students they feel bullied them, the chances and opportunities they were unable to get and on and on – until sometimes we find that there is no reason, no reason that makes any sense at all except the need to hurt others.
I recently visited an elementary school where ast year I was a volunteer mentor to several third-graders who I will continue mentoring this year as they continue their journeys through fourth grade. When I walked through the front door, my smile was not diminished by the obvious construction that was taking place. However, when I learned that they were installing bulletproof glass separating the entrance area from the rest of the building, I was instantly taken back to the horrific acts of violence in recent years perpetrated on our most precious citizens – our children.
I know it may seem like they were late in adding this protection given the violence that has occurred over the past ten years or so but nonetheless I felt sad to see it happen. We want to keep our children safe but not make them feel like inmates. It just confirmed that nothing has changed and the worst parts of our society just keep intruding on the lives of the best part of our society – our children. The answer? I don’t know. I just know that the village that it takes to raise our children is now enclosed in bulletproof glass and that’s sad.