There was a time, not that long ago, when the only drills students had to learn pertained to a fire. That was bad enough, yes, but the world has gotten much darker and scarier, so much so that children now have to be prepared for the unimaginable. In the wake of the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, kids, more than ever, worry about the same thing happening to them. And since parents can’t be there to protect them, it begs the question, will they be able to protect themselves?
One mom, Tanai Bernard, a teacher from Texas, had a discussion with her son, Dezmond. She asked him about safety drills at his school and wanted to make sure her 10-year-old was taking them seriously and not using that time to “goof off.” His response left her shaken, as it will you.
“If it came down to it, I would rather be the one that died protecting my friends than have an entire class die and I be the only one that lived.” This boy. First off, bless his mother, who has clearly raised him right; at such a young age he’s already a strong, sensitive, loving boy willing to do whatever it takes to protect those around him. But, at the same time, as his parent, that has to be tough to hear. Proud? Of course. Terrified? Hell, yes. That your 10-year-old son is willing to put himself in the line of fire? Yes, you want him to be a compassionate human being, but you also want him to come home to you at the end of the day.
We’re not even two months into 2018, and there have been 18 school shootings in the United States. The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, along with kids around the country, are doing everything they can to stop this from happening to others, but with their government doing little to prevent another shooting from happening again, this is their new normal.
The fact that any child is prepared to die in a situation that has become almost commonplace is both heartbreaking and devastating. These children deserve better.