Sunday, May 26, 2024

Letter-Victoria Kemp

“You are not special”


I had to set the paper down after reading the rant by Shirley Stowe. It seemed to me she spent three long paragraphs berating educators as revenge for something the superintendent said. She started by saying we are a nation of survivors. This is true, but sadly, teachers and children are survivors in the worst sense. Whether they have been confronted by an active shooter or threat in school, they
are survivors of them and are shell shocked.

Consider this: Texas has had seven mass shootings since 2016, a mass shooting is counted as more than four dead. There are countless shootings every day that don't count as a mass shooting. Gun death is the number one cause of child mortality in the United States. In July 2016, five Dallas Police officers were killed and nine people injured. In November 2017 at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, 26 people were killed and 20 injured. In May 2018 at Santa Fe High School, 10 kids were killed and 13 injured by a 17-year-old. In August 2019 at the El Paso Walmart a 21-year-old racist hunted Hispanic Americans, killing 23 and leaving 26 injured. In August 2019 in Midland-Odessa, a gunman killed seven and injured 25, including three police. In May 2022 at Ross Elementary School, an 18-year-old killed 17 children, two teachers and left 17 injured. In May 2023 at the Allen Outlet Mall a gunman killed eight and injured seven.

Ms. Stowe ridicules the school staff for their concern for their students when two people are found in an unlit library sneaking around using their cell phone flashlight. The school staff did the right thing reporting it. The school board member did the wrong thing sneaking around a school with a flashlight. We are in an age where we must be vigilant, indeed, over-vigilant. Err on the side of caution.

Just this year, House Bill 3 passed requiring schools must have armed guards. Senate Bill 838 requires school districts to install silent panic alarms in every classroom. Senate Bill 763 allows unlicensed
chaplains to work in mental health roles in schools. And no bill was passed making it more difficult to purchase semi-automatic rifles.

Our educators are doing their best. They are underpaid for all that they do. It is not in their or our children's best interest for us to attack them on another front when they already feel like they are targeted. They need our support. Insulting them, saying they can't deal with real problems? Saying they do not walk on water (it is unlikely they have Jesus complexes) and telling them they have "a job just like every other employee in every other business". They are trying to help us shape the future. Ms Stowe's letter is a prime example of why 44% of new teachers quit within five years.

I am weary of people who attack rather than help. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

Granbury, TX