Op-EdOpinion

ROWLEY: Grief, Anger and Bulletproof Backpacks

Are you kidding me?

Parents suddenly shopping for bulletproof backpacks for their kids? So this is what the world has come to regarding the safety of our children at school? Yet, reports state that companies selling them are seeing an uptick in sales.

See, when I was growing up, school counted as one of the safest places to be. Aside from concentrating on our education, school offered nice homestyle meals (i.e. lunches). We learned manners, talked about what we learned in Sunday School.

We took a nap and had teachers who really knew us — and in many cases, knew our parents. As eager little safety patrol officers, we not only helped each other cross the streets at school before and after classes, we also proudly patrolled our schools’ hallways. Remember?

We were taught to look out for each other and to be alerted to people who, for example, happened through the building looking for the principal’s office.

And if you knew you were going to be beaten up after school by a bully, you knew there was safety within those school walls — so safe that you figured if you stayed behind at school hanging around the principal’s office or helping your teacher clean erasers, the bully would eventually grow tired of waiting on you and go home. Heck, you could even stay at school until the principal left, if your parents were going to be late picking you up.

As I recall, school was a place of protection and security without the presence of police officers. But sadly nowadays, we’re almost afraid to send our children to school.

Looking at the jarring number of school shootings — with the Florida tragedy being the seventh in the country this year — when we do send them our children to school, we now must not only ponder their social, academic and emotional development, but their safety as well.

None of us wants to live in fear for the lives of our children, particularly when they’re at school. Yet, given the wave of school killings that have held the nation captive with grief and fear, I imagine growing numbers of parents who are now very seriously considering home schooling.

(By the way, while a recent Pew poll reveals that the vast majority of Democrats and Republicans favor preventing the mentally ill from purchasing guns, as well as background checks for private and gun-show sales, President Donald Trump failed to address gun violence in his Feb. 15 response to the Florida massacre that left 17 people dead and another 15 wounded.)

Meanwhile, someone, in their angst over the latest shootings, blurted out the other day, “This can’t go on!”

But it can — and will — go on, as long as we as a nation continue to get all beside ourselves in anger, sorrow and disbelief in the midst of such tragedies, only to forget what happened in a few weeks or so as we return to the daily grinds of life.

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Dorothy Rowley – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I knew I had to become a writer when at age nine I scribbled a note to my younger brother’s teacher saying I thought she was being too hard on him in class. Well, the teacher immediately contacted my mother, and with tears in her eyes, profusely apologized. Of course, my embarrassed mother dealt with me – but that didn’t stop me from pursuing my passion for words and writing. Nowadays, as a “semi-retiree,” I continue to work for the Washington Informer as a staff writer. Aside from that, I keep busy creating quirky videos for YouTube, participating in an actor’s guild and being part of my church’s praise dance team and adult choir. I’m a regular fixture at the gym, and I like to take long road trips that have included fun-filled treks to Miami, Florida and Jackson, Mississippi. I’m poised to take to the road again in early 2017, headed for New Orleans, Louisiana. This proud grandmother of two – who absolutely adores interior decorating – did her undergraduate studies at Virginia Union University and graduate work at Virginia State University.

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