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Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013
Suffer the ChildrenPosted Saturday, March 3, 2012, at 4:51 PM
February 27, 2012, Thomas (TJ) Lane rode to Chardon High School in Chardon, Ohio carrying a handgun taken from his uncle.
Lane doesn't attend Chardon High. He was dropped off there to meet another bus that would take him to an alternative school for special students.
However, Lane stepped into the cafeteria of Chardon H.S., walked over to a table and opened fire on five students. Then he left the school and was apprehended outside the building.
Three students have died and two were hospitalized with injuries.
We have mixed reports as to why Lane acted in such a deliberate manner. Some people say he was a quiet young man who tended to be a loner, but was not sullen or angry. Others say he was an abused child who attended an alternative school for troubled students. Some say he was teased and bullied because he was quiet and he dressed in "the Goth style" that is popular with the youth of today.
Whatever the reason for Lane's behavior, it marks yet another of our country's school years with tragedy.
How many schools have to suffer these horrible moments of terror before we can identify the people who are likely to commit such acts and prevent them from happening? And even if these people are identified, our laws often shackle us from stopping their actions.
That's why we must be proactive in other ways. Communities must demand that schools, houses of worship, banks, and companies have procedures for emergencies.
Chardon High School had many drills to prevent just such an event as the shootings on February 27th. It was these drills that could have kept the high school from experiencing a slaughter. The principal and all the staff acted in a calm and supportive manner. Thank God they kept their heads and knew exactly what was expected of them.
Now, here are my questions. We have a few troubled students in Eureka Springs as well as adults. Does our school district have a plan for such a frightening scenario? Have we had drills at our school buildings on a regular basis? Do students, staff and parents know how to react in times of trouble?
Yesterday, I spoke with a school board member who assured me that we do have lockdowns at our schools when dealing with violence or handguns. Eureka's method is not the same as for a fire drill or tornado drill. It is specialized.
At any rate, we must be ready for all catastrophes. We can't put our heads in the sand and say it will never happen here. I am thankful that our school district has addressed the possibilities of mayhem happening in our community and worked on solutions to prevent the unexpected.
In the mean time, our schools should continue the proactive programs against bullying and teasing. However, parents have the job to teach their children by being good examples. Harsh criticism and beatings are learned at the parental knee, quickly creating young victims who become bullies as they mature. Schools cannot take on the cause of raising children; parents need to step up to their twenty four hour responsibilities.
In a Twist
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I'm Enid. No, not the town in Oklahoma, but a transplant to Eureka Springs from Minneapolis fourteen years ago. I'm a writer, journalist and sometime artist. My real love is expressing my opinions on almost any subject, as you have seen in my many letters to the Editor of The Lovely County Citizen over the years. Now, I'm happy to say that I will be writing a blog titled In a Twist for your amusement, amazement or commiseration. Thanks for giving me a read.