Is Anybody Listening?

6 04 2010

Shaun Goodsell, MA

A student came to school with a gun today. When asked what motivated this action the student gave indication that he was being bullied, picked on, and so he responded by bringing a gun to “send a scare” into those that had picked on him. The Principle responded by saying; “I wasn’t aware of this student experiencing bullying”. Isn’t this the problem?  Adults leading within communities of kids are blind. We are missing the subtle cues giving valuable information concerning the health of the student community. WE CANNOT AFFORD TO BE MISSING THE CUES STUDENTS SEND.  We are good at bringing in drug sniffing dogs to determine the presence of drugs in our schools and I am thankful for this. However, we need to take intentional action that leads to reliable and valid information concerning the quality of relational functioning within our schools and other places students gather in groups. Many of our kids are crying out for help with behaviors, attitudes, and outrage that we need to start paying attention to.  While being interviewed on WCCO radio about two weeks ago I was asked if I thought bullying had been reduced. I responded by saying; “Not in my opinion”. I cannot help but be saddened by the emotional turmoil that had gone on in this young man’s life. The day in and day out abuse that went unnoticed, unchecked, and certainly not dealt with. More and more kids are going to take matters into their own hands if the adults that are supposed to be protecting not only their bodies, but also their hearts, don’t take drastic action to PAY ATTENTION and protect those that are being emotionally battered right under our nose.

We can theorize and philosophize all the reasons why kids bully each other but right now this needs to STOP or we will see many more kids lash out in violent ways representing the deep anger they feel for being rejected from the peer group that should embrace and provide support, encouragement, and emotional safety. Certainly, this young man that brought a loaded gun to school should receive significant consequences for his misguided actions. However, if we don’t wake up we are missing the opportunity to learn from this young man and avoid future loss of life. Our kids are screaming for help. Is anybody listening?



One response

6 04 2010
Dianne Goodman

Shaun – Amen! As a mom of a high school student, I couldn’t agree more. It’s not easy today to raise children. These are challenging times and we’ve created some of the challenges ourselves – by being so busy that we don’t always take the opportunities to reach out to our children. I’m also a mom of an athlete and we often times take a lot of criticism for how much money and time athletics cost. But for our familly, it creates a bond that may not be there otherwise. We attend every game and sporting event and have a fairly good handle on who our son spends time with after school or after a game. Plus it adds another layer of accountability for our son – the coaching staff. Some coaches do a fabulous job of keeping track of their athletes by txt and special meetings.

As former President Clinton once said, “it takes an community to raise a child.” Let’s hope the community is paying attention!

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