This Teacher’s Response to School Shooting is the Best We’ve Read

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A teacher in Florida had one of the best responses to the school shooting in Parkland last week – a Facebook post that recognized that there is something sick in our society that has nothing to do with AR-15s, the NRA, or the Republican Party.

“Okay, I’ll be the bad guy and say what no one else is brave enough to say, but wants to say,” wrote Kelly Guthrie Raley, a Teacher of the Year winner from Eustis, Florida. “Until we, as a country, are willing to get serious and talk about mental health issues, lack of available care for the mental health issues, lack of discipline in the home, horrendous lack of parental support when the schools are trying to control horrible behavior at school (oh no! Not MY KID. What did YOU do to cause my kid to react that way?), lack of moral values, and yes, I’ll say it – violent video games that take away all sensitivity to ANY compassion for others’ lives – as well as reality TV that makes it commonplace for people to constantly scream up in each others’ faces and not value any other person but themselves, we will have a gun problem in school.”

Raley said that things had changed drastically in American society since she embarked on her teaching career twenty years ago and none of them had a thing to do with the proliferation of firearms. She noted that in her first years as a teacher, she never had to be concerned about calling a student’s parents about the child’s behavior only to have the parent blame anyone and everyone else.

“Parents, it’s time to step up!” she wrote. “Be the parent that actually gives a crap! Be the annoying mom that pries and knows what your kid is doing. STOP being their friend. They have enough ‘friends’ at school. Be their parent. Being the ‘cool mom’ means not a damn thing when either your kid is dead or your kid kills other people because they were allowed to have their space and privacy in YOUR HOME.”

People on both the left and the right are sick of having the same debate after every mass shooting. So let’s stop having it! Let’s change our focus on the things that we can change, the things that might just have more to do with our current situation than the sale of assault rifles. Republicans are good about saying, “Oh, no, it’s about this and about that,” but we never actually TALK about this or that. Democrats are good for blaming guns but they never actually do anything other than reach for pie-in-the-sky solutions that wouldn’t change a damn thing.

We’re not sure we agree with every word this teacher wrote (although we do agree with much of it) but at least she had the courage to say there might be something other than gun control to talk about when teenagers are murdering their fellow students. That’s a good start.