Another School Shooting? We Must Do Better!

This week, the scene of the latest school shooting in America was the Oxford High School in Michigan where now four students have died as a result of the shooting. The alleged motive for the violence was the age old case of unresolved bullying. Too often, the shooter was bullied so he shot the bullies. There is almost always collateral damage and in addition to the four fatalities, seven others were injured.

This is the case that plays out far too often in our country, it’s almost as if it’s ok so long as the shooter was bullied. You may not think that, recent shootings, have introduced the pattern of the search for a motive even before suspects and victims are named.

Such was the case a few months ago at TimberView High School in the Mansfield ISD. After an investigation, it was determined that bullying had nothing to do with the shooting. Even if it were the case, we have to find a way to keep guns out of the hands of kids and most importantly off school campuses. Gun violence is never an acceptable response to bullying! It is not and we cannot allow it to become acceptable, not even in our gun crazed society.

Allegations of bullying have yet to be substantiated and the shooting remains unprovoked and premeditated. When teachers sent Ethan Crumbley to the office for drawing graphic pictures showing him shooting a student, the school responded by sending him back to class. On the day of the shooting, his parents were at the school for a meeting to address concerns raised by teachers, but again, he returned to class.

There’s plenty blame to go around. Start with school administrators, the school board who should have policies in place to prevent tragedies like this, his parents and the shooter are all to blame for these four lives taken and seven injured.

We have an innate gift of blaming others, but it’s time we address our moral failure in this country and whether you start at gun control or the inability to resolve these issues without violence, we’ve got a long look to take at fixing this issue. This also contingent on what you perceive the issue to be. Much has been made about the arrest of James and Jennifer Crumbley, but shouldn’t we be at the school board demanding that heads roll for lack of intervention if in fact this teen was bullied and his cries for justice went unheard?

Nothing brings back the lives of those four students or undoes the harm inflicted on the surviving students, nothing. But it is time to make sure this doesn’t happen again. As was suggested in Mansfield, metal detectors and clear backpacks aren’t a strong enough deterrent. Is the school system failing our children? If our children come to school with weapons because they fear for their safety on campus, we are failing them.

Gun violence is never an acceptable response to bullying

Whether the motivation for school shootings is mental illness, bullying, or video games, something must be done to combat and curtail the influx of on-campus shootings. While this shooting may not have been provoked by bullying, we must face the reality that our children are making the bold decision to injure or take lives because of it. Bullying is never okay and neither is gun violence. This truth cannot be blurred simply because the culprit is a victim of bullying. How do we address this? How do we equip children with the mental capacity to make better problem solving decisions that don’t injure others or take lives? How has the threat of dying or being injured in a school shooting become a caveat of public school attendance? Have we even considered the emotional damage caused by just being in the room or building where a shooting happened?

There has to be a better way to resolve these bullying issues and there also has to he a better way that we address the violent responses to them. This includes eliminating access to weapons used to harm others. Perhaps the solution is found in better parenting, altogether. Still, something must be done on the administrative level that protects and prevents tragedy at the schools we entrust our children to, each day. This is a message to parents, students and administrators, it is incumbent upon us to do better. We must start right now before another campus, student or family is impacted with unimaginable loss.

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