This week, a colleague had to have another conversation with her nine-year-old son about school safety and what to do if his school was to ever go into lockdown. Another colleague received a message about lockdown drills for his two and a half-year-old son.
It is a harrowing ordeal for any parent — for any kid — to have to talk about how to stay alive when their life may be in danger. But it is even more alarming when you have to think about this happening in what is supposed to be one of the safest places for young people — our schools.
This type of tragedy should never happen, and it is becoming an all too common occurrence. We must not become accustomed to these events – this cannot be the new normal.
To develop intellectually and emotionally, young people need physical and psychological safety at home, at school, and in the community. Without such safe places — environments that support and encourage inquiry, exploration, and play without fear of harm – children aren’t able to get support, form positive relationships and concentrate on learning and being a child.
As a new report from our research center shows, the psychological and academic impacts of violence on young people last long after the immediate danger ends.
America’s Promise has called a special meeting of its Trustee partners to embark on an honest conversation about what must happen to eradicate this culture of violence in our schools and create a better, safer world for young people.
Whether it is the need for more school counselors in schools, a call to support more mental health screenings in communities, or gun safety laws, we must all be willing to take the necessary steps to protect our most valuable and vulnerable resources or risk failing our young people.