We Don’t Care About Safe Schools. We Care About Gun Control.

I want to see Michigan be the safest and best place to educate your children in the country. Let’s think critically about what’s wrong with schools and why gun control and solving gun violence with more guns isn’t the solution. Everyone keeps talking about “safe schools”, yet our schools can’t even keep kids safe from physical and mental abuse. How are they are ever going to keep them safe from guns?  If we truly cared about kids safety at school, we would be focusing our energy on listening to the voices of our children. Our children, both the victims and perpetrators are screaming their stories and nobody is listening. I want to address the problem with safe schools by discussing a two fold approach to keeping our kids safe and that needs to start with keeping our kids safe at school — not just safe from guns.  At the same time, gun violence is a clear and immediate concern for all parents of children in public school. Everyone keeps saying we have to do something. And in fact, we do!  But being reactive and making the topic of school shootings all about gun control, only causes a polarization between ideologies on how to handle gun violence. It doesn’t solve any problems.

Practical solutions that solve both the immediate concerns and long term solutions that take care of the actual emotional struggles kids face in public school are needed. A short term safety plan, with a long term proactive plan to create a safer learning environment is long overdue. We all know what the problem is with public schools. It’s relentless bullying. Kids are being mentally and physically abused at school, and nobody is doing anything about their emotional needs. We are going about the bullying problem and school violence issue the wrong way.  Over the next few weeks I want to discuss every dynamic involved in the school violence issue –from bullying, to pharmaceuticals, to lack of choice in education, to the break down of the family — while also addressing parents and students’ present fears. We can’t address just one aspect of this issue.

Gun control is not only not the solution, it doesn’t get to the root of the problem.  It’s a divisive topic, but nevertheless needs to be discussed.  I am planning to write a series of posts explaining the free market and the black market, and why gun control is dangerous.  However, the purpose of this discussion is to come up with solutions that are not based on ideology or political party so that people can do something NOW and argue about ideology later.

I want people to understand that gun control, even if it were to work, isn’t going to alleviate the immediate concerns of parents. What I believe in is the free market and that people already know how to solve their own problems. The government has consistently made our problems worse. Here is an example of a free market solution for safe schools.

This safety shelter would give children a safe place to go in the event of violent attack. It may not be the best solution, but it is one solution that school districts could consider.  Parents and educators have more vested interest in school safety than anyone in government.  Teachers, parents, and children who attend public school should be the ones deciding what’s the right call.  Each school district should have a safety plan in place that is comprehensive and created to meet the needs of their particular schools.  A safety plan should be carefully thought about and involve the parents and the school district. The goal should be to keep kids safe at school by having a proactive plan to prevent violence at school but also a plan for what to do if a violent act were to occur.

Along with having a safety plan, schools need to be addressing the issue of bullying, which is clearly part of the problem. A zero-tolerance policy isn’t going to work and may make the problem of bullying worse. Bullying is a very subjective experience and often hard to prove. Bullying can go on but never be witnessed. Bullying involves more than physical contact, and normal middle school conflicts can’t be completely monitored, nor intervened in constantly to keep kids safe.  Some of this is part of growing up and learning how to handle feelings and conflict.  What children need are the tools to communicate and deal with conflict.

If we only address the kids that are being bullied and not the bullies themselves, we are missing an important aspect of the problem.  The emotional needs of the children doing the bullying is as important as the children who are being abused by it. There is a saying in the mental health field that says ‘hurt people hurt people.” These are important words to consider. If we want to address bullying, we need to focus attention on the bullies, and not just the victims. There are often emotional reasons why children bully that are as important to consider as the victims of bullying.

Part of educating children is teaching them how to interact, how to handle stress, and how to cope with conflict.  Education should include teaching kids coping skills like meditation, communication, how to set boundaries, and ways to release negative energy.  These skills will go along way in teaching kids how to solve their own problems.

Some of the issues that go on within public schools have more to do with external forces that are happening outside of the school environment.  Public schools cannot tackle all the problems kids face. Their role is to educate children, not parent them or provide them with mental health services that are beyond the scope of education.  With that said, we can do better at keeping them safe and giving them the tools to handle stress and conflict.

We have the money to pay for safe schools. Cut government funding to corporations and spend it on our kids!  Let’s make Michigan the safest and best state for education in the country!

Please join Patty for Liberty on March 24th for a discussion on the second amendment and why it is so important to protect it.