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The Virginia Tech Massacre


The massacre at Virginia Tech University this week has shaken the education community, reawakening questions about school preparedness, the causes of student violence, and how to help students cope with grief and horror.

How has it affected you and your school? Are you discussing the killings with your students? Are you concerned about their emotional state? Are you worried about your safety? What more, if anything, could be done to stop school shootings?


While the horror at Va. Tech makes my heart ache and I've said many prayers for that community, it really hasn't affected my school in SE Louisiana at all, not to be callous.

Life has gone on as usual. Not even a moment of silence over the school PA system.

It is easy to say that this student was "troubled" or "disturbed" after the fact. Quite another thing to know what his intentions were and do something about it. The one to blame is the student himself, not parents, previous teachers, present professors, campus policy etc. Each person is responsible for his/her own actions. C. Elliott

Red Flags everywhere and we again fail to see the warning signs. From his dorm room to his classes to his writing. When you take the content of his writing plus behavior you have a red flag.
I just completed training over 5000 school police officers and school administrators on rules of engagement. I am hoping that the first police officer on the scene engaged the shooter to neutralize the shooter and save lives. The first incident with two fatalities probably caused all the campus police officer to respond to that dorm, it is a natural reaction by police. There is a shift change from midnight to dayshift and what most parents and the community do not know that the school police department does not have the manpower or the resources to handle these fatalities in a very effective time frame, they must wait for the juristication in charge to take over which would probably be the State Police in this case. Valuable time lost, and now there is another shooting across campus, who is charge. Columbine showed this country that failure to communicate and failure to engage caused students to die and get seriously injured. Rules of engagement must be crystal clear as you can see at VT. What parents do not know is that college police departments losse jurisdiction when fatalities unfold on school campuses. I cannot believe on how many police officers were hiding behind trees and police cars while shots are being fired while students and school staff are being killed and injured. This can happen anywhere at anytime.

My heart hurts. I was a principal at one of the two high schools closest to Ground Zero on 9/11, where my sister perished as well. This event has caused me to relive some of the painful hours. I am still baffled with the thought that despite all of the tragedies that we've experienced in the last years, we still can't find it within our selves to respond to the warning signs that are given to us. Are we all too afraid of "civil liberties" and others who continuously remind us that the rights of others have to be protected? Who protected the "right to life, freedom and happiness" of these students and staff? It's a little too late, again! I pray God have mercy over our children in institutions of learning. I pray HE keep them safe. If we call upon the name of Jesus, He will heal our land. Let's not turn away. Let us not lose HOPE. HE can be found in the darkness. Prayer and concentrating on God is the only thing that kept me alive during those horrid days following 9/11. I pray that God will heal the dreadful pain these families now have. May God be with you.

All too often as educators we let technical matters supercede our humanitarian purpose in our profession, and that is to educate all children in the time we have them in our schools. Every child deserves our time, care and support at all times, whether they be disturbed, disabled or intellectually challenging. I believe we have lost our knack to confront our most troubled children and offer our care, support and love. We have become more concerned with processes and procedures rather than addressing the innermost needs of the children we care for. Grades, transcripts, honors, sports, scholastic achievements and other related activities have become the cornerstone of our system rather than developing the whole child and providing for his/her psychological and emotional needs. This person was sending out signals and our professors and counselors recognized the pleas and perhaps wanted to provide the help. Unfortunately, it is too late now. As always, America comes together in tragedies like this. As a nation we need to do better in addressing emotional and psychological needs of our children. When we begin to really care for children and their struggles, we will begin to heal them and attempt at developing a more richer character than a superficial demonstration of independence and the right to live what we think is individual liberty. The right to be who we are and do what it is that we need to do is the outward sign we present, which, unfortunatley, goes against the grain of humanistic expression and the wanting to care and provide support for others around us while achieving individual self-worth. And, as always, we will get over this but we need a paradigm shift in how we teach our children. We can pass legislation for all we want to restrict guns and weapons in our institutions, but unless we address the most formidable weapon of all (ourselves) we will not get over this problem.

Mr.San Nicolas's comment was right on target!
We as educators need to spend more time getting to know our students, understanding their cultures and their needs. So much time is spent on the initative of "leaving no child behind" when our nation is leaving them behind to the horror of society. Who will be left to guide, nuture and impower our nation if no one takes a minute or two to get to know the population that we serve as a "whole".
This unforgettable tragedy will forever be etched in our hearts and on our minds. May the families that have been affected find peace and solace so that they heal and move on with their lives.

From Australia, we just shake our heads in disbelief. Hardly anyone, including farmers, can have a gun in Australia; we had one massacre and so the federal government had a gun buyback scheme. You certainly can't buy automatic handguns (why would you want to?) Its going to keep happening as long as you have so many guns easily available.

Given the incident at Virginia Tech, school safety is once again on the minds of a lot of people. Some of the questions that have arisen in the incident "post-mortem" demonstrates the need for practice drills by both schools and law enforcement responding.

The networking process I advocate in my school safety courses regarding this sort of thing becomes a clear priority when this particular incident is thoroughly examined. Even the process of communicating a lock down, or even determining when to issue a lock down order, become important issues in light of what happened at Va Tech.

The incidents at Va Tech also demonstrates the important roles local and county law enforcement can play in responding to the scene and investigation, especially the preliminary reports and feedback to the school officials.

In my view, if the college officials had ordered an immediate lock down after the first two people were shot, then the campus closed shortly thereafter, many of the subsequent victims may not have been shot or injured. The immediate lock down would have allowed campus, local and county law enforcement to do a thorough sweep of the campus over the two hour interval between the first incident and the second. The subsequent dismissal and campus closure would have eliminated most of the Cho's targets.

Given human nature, and the way people tend to gather around after an incident to which police have responded, the failure to institute a lock down after the first two people were shot was a serious misstep. Not having the campus fully swept while pursuing a person of interest was another misstep. Assuming that this was a domestic situation was yet another misstep (given that 80% or more domestic situations occur in the home, the assumption on the part of the responders and investigators ignored the sociological, psychological and criminological data).

It is unfortunate that there were so many deaths and injuries, and that there will probably be so many wrongful death suits as a result of the failure to lock down and close the campus. A hungry opportunistic lawyer will probably examine how much training the campus police have (or don't have) regarding incident control, school safety, as well as the track record of crimes on campus, including the shooting incident that occurred last August. Then the amount of training of the local and county police that responded will be examined and any holes will be exploited as the "wrongful cause of death," despite the fact that it was an angry, isolated and psychologically impaired student that was the actual cause of death and injury.

But, there too, the vultures will exploit the fact that roommates and college peers had reported dysphoric and angry abnormal behaviors, but the school did not have adequate intervention programs. Now that we know Cho exhibited a pattern of disturbance over a 2-year period in which the courts, psychiatrists, school faculty, campus police and college roommates failed to communicate and/or escalate concerns, the failures are too obvious (hindsight is always 20/20).

Unfortunately, the order of the day, after the initial shock and grief are over, will be finding someone to blame. Given the litigious nature of our society, and the number of opportunistic vultures we have in our society, this will more than likely end up in court with fingers pointed at a lot of people, especially those with the deepest pockets.

Another unfortunate thing is that the issue of gun control will be brought to the forefront of this debate when it was actually a failure of law enforcement and the court to maintain its database used by gun dealers to screen out the seriously disturbed that allowed Cho to purchase the Glock. The court should have ordered an entry in the Quick Search background check used in Virginia to prevent Cho from buying a hand gun. However, given that gun laws are not universal from state to state, the databases are not shared, and that there are so many guns available on the streets, this database flaw would have only made it more difficult for Cho to get a weapon.

Gun control alone would not have stopped this massacre, but effective communications, proper school/campus safety and security procedures, and proper training of faculty, staff and SRO/Campus Police may have done so much more effectively.

We are left in the position of crying for those we lost, including some kids I met along my travels in the Illinois area. But we haven't done enough in terms of educating our students, faculty, staff, administrators or law enforcement as to how to work at prevention, response and ongoing review of conditions on campus. One would think that after Columbine these issues would still be on the minds of school administrators at every level. Given the dismal record of college campuses over the last three decades in terms of prevention and responding to campus violence, one would think this would be the case for college presidents and police as well.

My prayers are with the families of those we lost and I offer a special prayer that school safety will become a priority for professional development, creating campus, school and district safety committees that actually work.

My community is 3 hours from Virginia Tech; therefore, many of our students attend there, including my daughter (who graduated from the Engineering Dept. last May). The day after the shootings, I was attending an International Conference on Global Education, sponsored by our school district. We set up a live telecommunication with an elementary school in Levarano, Italy. We were all touched when the first thing the Italian teachers said to us was, "We are very sorry for Virginia Tech."

Criminals do not obey laws.
The laws prohibiting guns on campus are no exception.
Therefore, the real effect of these laws is to disarm all the "good" people and turn our schools into free fire zones for madmen like Cho.
One honest citizen (or student) with a defensive pistol could have saved many lives at VT.

The high school our school feeds into had a lockdown yesterday because of a very specific threat against very specific students. The school administration flew into action as did the local police and parents. I guess we are all finding it necessary to learn some very painful lessons.

While my heart is heavy with grief for the Virginia Tech community, I am appalled by the amount of press coverage given to the shooter. His face, words, actions are everywhere. If we are ever to send a message to those who are troubled, I do not believe "glorifying" them in this way is the way to prevent more of these type of actions. Every school, in every city, needs to work with their local media and local school public relations person to address this and advocate for change. Yes, it is a story...but the media--especially TV--does not have to go on a rampage of their own in giving the shooter so much press time.

I teach at a middle school in Florida. I am concerned daily with certain of my students who exhibit anti-social behavior. Kids can be so cruel, and they don't realize what their comments or actions can cause another person to do. So many of our students bring problems and issues from home to school with them, and our kids are really stressed today. As teachers and guidance counselors, sometimes, we observe too much, I think. We need to take some positive action to get help to those students who need it. We've done a lot of work at our school with trying to change student perceptions, trying to control bullying, trying to keep a Columbine or Virginia Tech from happening here. Although our efforts are helping, they are not eliminating these behaviors, and our children are suffering.

I just can not wrap my brain around another senseless killing.
Being able to own a gun in this country is taken too lightly. Sure good people can buy guns, but so can sick people. The good people buy them because they can and then lock them up in a gun cabinet. The bad people use them. They shouldn't be available to the public, Australia has the right idea.

This is a sad day. Our Constitution garantees our right to buy a gun, but does not garantte our right for an education. But... for what an edcation if we can get what we want by force? Educators are blamed for all that happens to students while politicians and the consumerism are sending the wrong message to the young people who are raised with the urgency of 'immediate gratification'.

Monday's events were beyond tragic. However, the tragedy continues in the continuous media frenzy over the killer, his motives and his activity between the incidents. Yes, the public deserves to hear the story, but every detail? Experts who have the emotional capacity to filter the madness should conduct the investigation. When Don Imus uttered three offensive words, the networks pulled his plug. I am not an Imus fan and I totally believe that he should be held accountable, but the irony is that the media coverage, and the replaying of the heinous videotapes submitted by the killer himself, only lends itself to creating the “celebrity” of this killer. He may have been deeply troubled; obviously, he had great mental health issues. However, he was calculating and meticulous enough to ensure that he had a voice. His voice is ringing loud and clear across this country for every other troubled student to hear. He extinguished the voice of 32 victims. As a collective group, educators should demand accountability to the media of knowing where to draw the line- between responsible journalism and sensationalism.

last school i was assulted by a senior male student. The police in the school never came to see me, this boy's cronies said i assault him! He should have gone to jai. what kind of world is this?

The media should give as little cover as possible to the perpetrator of this crime. After all, he seemes to have been seeking recognition and notoriety. Please stop giving in to these desires so that other pupils/students are not tempted to follow his example. Once again, the failure was not to have foreseen that this killer was in such desperate straits.How many more lives need to be sacrificed before we understand the necessity of gun control?

I agree with Mr. San Nicolas as well, and many of the other views and points made here. It's interesting that we keep asking ourselves, "why" and "what more could we have done?"

The simple answer is, just look around...we live in a culture of individualist's. We care only for ourselves with this selfishness being demonstrated by our party leaders in the press every day!

What happened to "...love thy neighbor...?"

I'm not suggesting that religion is the answer, but simple humanity. Looking out for each other, not jumping to personal conclusions/motives when someone pulls out in front of us, etc...simple, healthy thinking!

Education is so important, but life education is just as important. We need to learn to think healthfully and then we can teach our children to think healthfully. It starts with us, as parents.

We need healthy-thinking parents to help support our teachers so they can carry out our work in the classrooms. TOGETHER we create a community that will support and teach collectively.

This young man was allowed to not participate in life, only residing in the insanity in his own mind. Why? Because none of us wanted the inconvenience of caring for someone this difficult. Yet, if ALL of us worked together, the burden wouldn't fall on one person, or the 32 who died from his solitary insanity that was left unchecked until he blew.

The "solution" is very simple. It's not about more legislation like other "democracy's" in the world, it's not about who didn't do what?

Look as US (you and me)...as a community, let's return to the basic's in life; family/community, education, stability, simple health, and the chance to give back that, which was given freely to them.

Very simple, very basic, simply good.

I challenge all of you to return to our roots of family and community and begin to change your little corner of your world. THAT will facilitate change in this frightening environment we have created for ourselves and our children.

So many of these posts refer to how stressed out our children are. Why is that? Why do 1100 college students commit suicide each year? Why have teen suicides increased every year? I just read an article about the relation between antidepressants and suicide risks; the article also reflected upon how many children and teenagers are now medicated for 'behavioral issues'. I really believe we are overmedicating our children - I guess it is easier than learning to deal with life. One woman's daughter who committed suicide at 17 was taking antidepressants because she was depressed over breaking up with her boyfriend. I am not saying the medication is the root of our society's 'evil' but we are not helping our kids learn correct social interaction if our knee jerk reaction is to medicate for every 'negative' behavior. Young boys who get antsy in 2nd grade probably do not have ADHD; teens who are upset over breaking up with someone are probably not clinically depressed. ADHD treatment has increased 500% (this is not a typo) for boys in the last 5 years. We are not helping them!!

We need to be vigilant about safety (this week in my town the Virgina Tech incident overshadowed a middle school lock-down in response to a rumor of a gun that may have been a water pistol, a gunfight outside a highschool as school dismissed and a five-year-old who accidentally killed himself playing with a gun in his home), and fewer guns seems like a very good idea. To those who announce that a single legally armed upright citizen could have saved lives--perhaps, or three such could have multiplied the confusion and the bloodbath.

I would also urge that we consider the sad lack of mental health options available in this country. Clearly this young man was a walking ball of hurt and anger--whether from some primal wound or simply some accident of brain chemistry, and several people know this--and did act, within the limits of their positions/relationships. The judge who committed him to outpatient care might have been better served by a system with better reporting and feedback to monitor progress when he was judged to be a danger to himself or others. Most mentally ill persons pose a far higher threat to themselves, but options are very limited.

As a VA Tech alumni I am deeply saddened for what the students and their families are having to go through after this horrific event. It is interesting to listen to the people that are already trying to place blame on the Tech administrators and the law inforcement officers concerning this tragedy. None of you had the information that they did while the situation was unfolding. How can you judge their actions and say what they should have done or not done? Certainly in a perfect world none of this would have taken place because the troubled student would have been identified, removed from campus, and given the professional help he so desperately needed. The student that committed these acts was obviously mentally unbalanced and had no business having access to firarms. But in our country we do not do a mental health check before a person purchases a gun. Also, this student was over 18, an adult. The university did not have the right to contact his family to let them know about his state of mind and his health records are private (just like all of our health records). Only a judge could have had this person removed from campus, according to VA state law. If you don't want this kind of tragedy to happen in the future, the laws need to be changed. In this country authorities can't act unless a person makes a specific threat against themselves or others (and even then, it is very difficult). This whole situation brings to light the delicate balance we must maintain between protecting individual civil liberties and protecting the general public. We Americans should be careful about what we ask for.
Make no mistake- Hokie Nation has pulled together and will emerge stronger than ever. We will forever remember the 27 bright students and the five brilliant faculty lost at VA Tech this past Monday. We are VA Tech! We are the Hokies!

As I read through the responses I thought about the struggles and tragedies endured by a countless number of people, in countless places, among countless races the Holocaust, slavery, assasinations and executions of leaders and non-leaders near and far. I thought of the tragedies like the Titanic, the attack at Pearl Harbor, Columbine, September 11, and Virginia Tech and I say to myself, Lord, the world and its people.

I believe in God and I believe His word and all things, good and bad, shall come to pass. The VT Massacre is sadly another tragedy that the world has to endure. Its my opinion, like all the tragedies mentioned above, that nothing would have stopped this terrible act because like all the tragedies in the past, this too has happened.

Rarely do you hear in the sound bites or interviews on radio talk shows and newscasts that speak to the reality of such tragedies, by that I mean, it was simply those individuals time to depart from this temporary home on earth and like them, we know not our hour or minute, but we do know we will to perish. God has the power to let live and to let perish. He, the Lord, said it was time. Though painful and heartwrenching, we have to forgive and pray while we continue to better protect those that still remain here on earth.

We are not immune from death as we are not immune to the endurance of these horrific tragedies in the past, present or future. I pray for the families and friends all over the world, including myself, who are suffering with grief, anger and confusion, in the loss of all human life, and I pray that our hearts will heal and it is my prayer that we shall never have to endure such losses again in any of our lives, but if we do I pray that God will smother a thick cover of forgiveness and strength across our hearts, souls, and minds.

These tragedies happen like unexpected and expected car accidents, illnesses, and spontaneous natural causes of death. It was simply their time. We can list a million red flags, talk about security measures or other deterents, create better crisis communications plans, but it won't bring back the lives and souls of those lost in this tragedy.
We can only continue to pray and hope that though horrible tragedies like these will occur that we are constantly reminded to help those who are crying out for help and to not take anything or anyone for granted. We need to listen and address the concerns of our children while they are children into their teenage years and throughout the rest of their lives.

I agree with Maria Hennequin. The media must not focus on the perpetrator. Those videos that he took of himself (apparently during the time between the two shooting incidents) should not be shown on the Internet or on TV. These videos send different messages to different people. Why not focus on the victims so that people would focus on how many innocent and promising lives are wasted when some sick people do things like this?
I am afraid of what could happen in schools anywhere. I agree with those who say that it's time for the education system to focus more on the educating the spirit, not just the mind.

My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

I'm writing from Ontario, Canada and wonder if we need to refocus the discussion from "violence" to "mental health identification and management", which seems to me the heart of this terrible tragedy. Is anyone else talking about this perspective?

I don't know if this is about our school safety procedures or interagency coordination procedures as much as it is about our inability, as a society, to come to grips with realities about mental illness and mental health. Our society was set up, from its roots in the revolution, to protect people from unjust accusation. I don't want us to turn into a police state because of the rare--but horrific--damage that unhinged individuals occasionally do. (And it is occasionally.) But an everyday change would be for Americans to examine their attitudes about psychiatry and therapy. I live in the South--the stigma against getting help for mental and stress related problems is tremendous. Yeah, there were red flags and warning signs, but it shouldn't be up to a professor to give a kid a private tutorial--dangerous for her and a reward for bad behavior! It sounds as if there were plenty of red flags and warning signs, but no one to support the family in making the right decision for this kid's care. On a personal note, there have been several individuals with mental issues in my family--none of them a danger to society as a whole, but a serious danger to themselves and, bless them, their children. I can tell you gaining agreement on how to proceed within families can be almost impossible and stigma--"I'm not crazy!" "he isn't crazy!" "it's just nerves..." "if she'd just take her medication..."--is the main reason. Also,and this is key, there is no mechanism that I've been able to discover to help families if the individual refuses to participate.

Many schools, especially older ones, do not have doors that can be locked from inside the room or do not issue keys to teachers who teach in those rooms. It is often a cost issue. Those students and professors at Virgina Tech had to block the door with their bodies to try to escape the gunman. This is a major safety issue. Every teacher, every union, every congressman, every parent should ask this question: Can the classroom door be locked by a teacher from inside the room. This should be an OSHA issue. Ask the question.

I agree that we should pay attention to the victims in this tragedy. However, there is still much to be learned from the perpetrator to hopefully help mentally ill individuals and ultimately prevent more tragedies in the future.
I can't imagine how it was acceptable for the shooter to sit in class and utter only one word responses. His writings were disturbingly angry and his refusal to interact with fellow students and faculty was troubling as well. How do professionals effectively reach and treat mentally ill students on campuses? We need to examine our protocol and awareness on college campuses and have vigilant methods of treating these students. Easier said than done, I know.
As a teacher, this tragedy makes me more attentive to the safety precautions our elementary school takes to keep students safe from outside intruders. However, we all know that we must be just as alert and attentive to the emotional and psychological expressions of our students as well.

I am currently working towards my education degree in Michigan. Recently, when addressing the question, "What more do I want to learn about teaching?", I replied that I wanted to know more about how to "turn off" my focus on the problems my students are facing at the end of the work day. This question stemmed from advice I've received advice from experienced teachers, which seem to warn me that "we can't do it all" or "we can only do so much."

After the VT shootings, I now think my question should be "How do I stay connected with my students and their issues without getting burned out." Our children, our students, need us to remain connected--now, even more than ever.

I empathize with many of the comments during this talkback. The comments shared by Forgiven resonate very strongly with my own beliefs. God has a plan. Also, we need to be listening and addressing the concerns of our children--and the earlier our students know we are listening to them, the better for all of us.

Our school has been on constant lock down since the Amish schoolhouse shootings. In order to lock our classroom doors the teachers must go into the hall and lock them from the outside. After expressing our concern for this, administration decided to keep all doors locked at all times. It is most assuradly inconvienet, but safer.

On a personal note, I asked my senior daughter what she would do next year at college if she heard gun shots in another classroom. Her response bothers me. Her first thought was to get under a desk - not lock the door. Why did no one think to lock a door in VA? Were they like my daughter and did not know what to do? Although locking a door is not a guarentee for safety, it would definately slow down a gun man if he could not get in easily. It would not save the first classroom, but he would not enter 4 rooms.

Of course, this is easier said then done (as always), but they wouldn't be school "shootings" without the guns... I'm from the South, so I know the importance of guns to hunters, so require a hunting license to buy certain types of guns. Require a more lengthy waiting period for gun purchases. All in all, though, it starts in the home and in how you raise a child. Why didn't the parents see that this person was psychotic? Why didn't they do anything? No one has yet to blame the parents in this situation... ok, let's blame the school, the roommates, the psycologists, but forget the people who raised this child from infancy! I could go on and on, but I won't because I'm human just like everyone else and I wouldn't even know where to start to begin to heal in a situation like this. I think the first reaction is extreme sadness for the losses that happened on Monday and then extreme anger and blame for "letting" this happen (like the school knew it was going to happen and just let is happen). I went to VA Tech my Freshman year and my heart goes out to everyone in VA and all those who are suffering - I can only imagine.

What saddens me is all of the commentary in my local paper about allowing firearms on academic campuses.

What people fail to understand is that guns are neither the problem or the solution. More firearms would only exacerbate the problem.

I teach not only to impart my knowledge of the English language and literature, but to instill in my students good citizenship, some sort of moral values, kindness, the ability to deal with problems in a constructive manner, and to identify people's pain and how to be a smile to someone else each day. And this is where, I believe, we all need to spend more time focusing our efforts.

Our students are our future. It matters not to me if they can read, write, and analyze if they are not content in their skin, if they are hurting, or if their daily life is in shambles.

Let's start being proactive, not reactive.

I am a Hokie! I completed my graduate degree at Virginia Tech in 2000. My heart goes out to all of those touched by this gruesome deed. It is so sad, so disturbing. However, person's mental health is not under the control of another person or entity. To say that Virginia Tech is somehow to blame for this horrific tradegy is wrong. If we as a nation, denied an education to all those individuals suffering from physical or mental disabilities than we would be no better than the people who do horrible things like this because we would be effectively ending the lives and careers of so many of our citizens. Let us be watchful, let us be vigilent, but let us be free to educate all of our citizens. Virginia Tech is a great institution and I hope that one day my children will choose to attend VT. Go Hokies!

I sat in front of my Educational Foundations class yesterday and asked how many of them had talked about the Virginia Tech massacre in their other classes - not one said yes. First we must talk about this issue, then we must act. The action that must come from college students is at the very least an attempt to develop relationships. As we discussed yesterday, not the easy relationships... the difficult ones. No amount of preparedness or crisis drill will solve this. It is a human element problem, and we must attack it with our only means of sustainment, our ability to make a difference in someone's life by offering them a relationship. Even then we will fail at times.

In Texas we are sorrowful for this senseless act and we pray for healing.

While I don't know the specifics of this student, I see repeatedly that students who are different from their peers are in a lose lose situation. Victimizers are aften subtle and undected by teachers. Victims who tell are often seen as tattle tales. And victims who defend themselves are often punshed to the same extent as their tormentors and in some cases to a degree far greater than their tormentors. I can see how our system can create angry and isolated people.

What a terrible cost to society when someone is so alienated and angry that something like this can happen.

Guns are not the problem. Regulation of guns only takes away the rights of law abiding citizens.

Everyone has wonderful comments and agree with all of you.
But to me the most important area of work that we have as a community (besides gun control, safety control, etc) is focusing on our values to teach them to our children. As I revisited my values I realized that my most important value is LOVE...sometimes we forget that a genuine smile, a simple hug, a simple "How are you doing" to a student is the most important connection you can have with him or her.
By showing love to our children in our schools, in our communities, in our home we are teaching them this value and we are showing them that expressing this feeling is okay...that demonstrating love is okay.
I have seen that many of the children in my school are in need of that love and care and we as adults need to work together in providing it to each of our students, even when a particular student is the “problem-kid” it will take more of our love to give to him or her. We sometimes get to carried away with "other" things which leads us to forget that our students are human beings that need attention and affection.

With out the easy access to guns we don't have a masssacre do we? We pay a very heavy price in America because we love guns, we adore guns. The first word I heard after the event was talk about how we shouldn't go overboard and think about restricting guns rather we should arm the students and teachers so they can take out the killers themselves. Life in America is a violent video game and we seem to want to keep it that way.

Unfortunately our entire community has been affected by the tragic event at Va Tech. Some of the victims came from our area and the place is swarming with unwanted press people. These hungry vultures linger forever trying to grab onto even the slightest bit of useless, senseless and hearltess information that they can turn into "news." They have disrupted our schools, our personal lives and have created an undue nervousness among our neighbors. And for what? So that the parents of these poor victims can be asked how they reacted when they heard of the danger, injury or death of their precious children? Why don't these reporters put half of this effort into telling us about good things that happen in our schools? Why are they ignoring other items that are significant to us so that they can spend time waiting to pounce on grieving relatives to feed us information that is none of our business? How do these personal feelings affect the success or failure of things around us? Will my life be safer if I see a crying mother on television? Will I have the skills to earn more money because I see that a family has lost a dear one? I don't like how television programs are constantly replaying the video that Cho sent to NBC. I believe once was enough to get the point across (or post it on a website that interested viewers can visit) that this was not a hardened criminal but a poor child that was in desperate need of attention. The message being sent should not be one of his brutal behavior but that we - ALL adults, teachers, friends and family - need to pay attention to people around us so as to aviod future devastation.

Instead of talking about how students must be taught to be more agressive to protect themselves, we need to be talking about outlawing guns!

I am a VA Tech alumna, and so this hit close to home. In my school we are currently preparing for a Code Red simulation, and this event further underscored the need to lock down and stay that way. It also seems to highlight the difficulties of communication in an educational institution as spread out as Tech. It's easy for us to communicate via a PA system in small school, but their situation was a lot more complicated. Surely e-mail isn't a very effective means of raising the alarm, though? I hope we can all learn some lessons, with minds open to solutions.
Meanwhile, my heart goes out to all those affected by this hideous event.

I must shake my head when I read teachers in public institutions speak,with such confidence, of the absence of such behaviors in their schools. I have worked in the middle of northern inner cities children and in the most rural areas of Miss. and La. with poor and wealthy children. I now work in a district where 80% are 2 parent families with a median income of about 300,000. Troubled children are everywhere. The more we ignore or hesitate to reach out to these children the more likely we will look at Virginia Tech as just one of many examples of this country's refusal to have quality mental health services for students and on going training for educators. I am in an excellent school with an exceptional administrator, but she is more the exception then the rule. My district is one of the richest in the state. The board, the parents, and even the teachers in other schools have a very hard time accepting the reality of mental illnes in 2 parent upper middle class children. Because of their views the principal and SpEd director are always fighting an uphill battle.
My students are smart, creative and very angry. They want to be heard and they want direction. They want to understand themselves and how to not feel so alone. My program gives them structured, safe, supportive opportunities to find answers. I don't say my program is the answer, but it, at least, tries to work with some of the problems before they get so out of control that the child wants to distroy themselves and everything around them.
The cost of prevention can not be measured in immediate dollars and cents, and to some it may seem prohibitive. However, as we have seen, there is always a cost and one way or another we will end up paying for mental illness.

It is amazing to me that we would consider all sorts of drills and security, taking up our time and resources from more profitable learning, in order to preserve the right to have weapons in our possession. It is also amazing that we discredit individuals who are on the fringes of our "normal" continuum and do not provide help and attention to them. This is the tragedy of our system. Sure this young man had a victim mentality, but does that make him a "throw-away." There were plenty of times, in his own way, that he indicated a need for help and he slipped through. We need to ask why? The answer might help us devise a solution, a thin-mesh net of help. We are so focused on "diversity." What are we doing to promote "diversity?" The fringe students, no matter what ethnic, religious, etc. etc. formula they have, are who we need to notice and our "diversity" dialogue needs to be about them; otherwise, viola--VT, Columbine, etc. Further, how do we as teachers embrace the "diversity" amongst each other? Taking care of "diversity" is not some prescribed mode of explaining to ELL students your subject matter. It's supposed to be inclusive. Being inclusive is an "accepting" mentality, not a judging one. I think that this whole incident is a catalyst of focus and it's not the first. Where are we now? Maybe it's time to reflect.

I teach first grade at Armada Elementary School in Moreno Valley. The security there is very relaxed. The only thing that has been done is to put up more fences and make it feel like prison. Anyone can slide under the front gate because of the slope that the gate sits on and anyone could climb the fence undetected.

Wait a minute. I agree with many comments here but I disagree with others. First, we didn't have a moment of silence either!! Terrible. Now I'm trying to urge our principal to join in tomorrow's nation-wide "Orange and Maroon Effect" day. As far as teachers are concerned...let's just back it up a bit. Where are the parents?? Who raised this child? How did his obvious mental illness go untreated? Adults who are as ill as he was (clearly we see this now in the video!) begin as ill children and become disturbed teens. No one in his family had any concerns? His parents didn't see signs? Aunts? Uncles?? Other family members didn't see any warning signs?? We as teachers spend a great deal of time with our students but we simply do not have the opportunity (or need) to develop the type of intimate relationships that should exist within a family unit!! Yes, we care. Yes, we show concern when we see that there are problems. Yes, we do all we can to help identify needs of all kinds (emotional, physical, learning). But we are not here to raise children!!! We are here to educate! Sure we cover a wide range of topics...from Science to Math to Character Education..of course. But let's be careful not to take on too much of the responsibility!! Family first! He needed mental health care from way back, and that was his parents' job! And now look at all of the parents who are suffering through the aftermath of this young man's actions!! It's tragic and scary.

On Tuesday and Wednesday I presented Law Advisory Group's program "Drugs, Guns and Gangs in School" and noticed little meaningful reaction from the group of school administrators. I deviated from our normal course outline to try to stress that those who say, "No way to prevent it" are correct in that some day, somewhere, it will happen again. But you can reduce the odds that it will be at your school with aggressive programs to identify troubled students and intervene pro-actively. It is vital to establish links to the "losers", the kids with whom we have only rare casual talks in school. And we have to learn to be nosy and disregard the social rules that say "respect everyone's privacy." There is no sense in dissecting what happened at Virginia Tech if we aren't going to use it to change our approaches.

What happened at Virginia Tech underscores the view that there is an increasing desensitization and acceptance regarding the proliferation of violent images and content in TV, film, music and video in this country. Young children regularly watch the violence and mayhem of professional wrestling. Many of the action figure toys being sold today are models of the "hero" and "villain" wrestlers seen on TV. Extremely violent video games are sold by the millions to their devoted fans across the U.S. There are popular crime shows that routinely include unspeakable acts of violence and graphic depictions of homocide victims, including close-ups of mutilated bodies. Another indication of this dark side comes from the revelations of prisoner torture at the hands of American military personnel and charges of murder and rape committed by members of the U.S. military on duty overseas. Many music CDs contain lyrics the unabashedly glorify violence. We frequently hear protests over the proliferation of sex in the media. But where is the uproar over the proliferation of violence in the "entertainment" business? What I find most disturbing, after the carnage at Virginia Tech, is
that the message we may unwittingly be giving our kids is that violence and brutality are really O.K.

I noticed the students at the schools I visit were eager to talk about and when I asked if they had discussed the issue in class before most of the students said none of their teachers had brought it up. How can this be? It makes me cringe to think that some kids want to talk about REAL issues, things that are heavy on their hearts and we can't even take 10 minutes to discuss something that has changed our PLANET?

I pray for those families of the murdered and the family of the murderer. May God sustain them and strengthen them in their time of need.

The tragedy at Va. Tech is a terrible thing to happen to young people and adults who are just doing their jobs, and going to class as expected and this is what happens. Our society has allowed all the institutions of life to crumple and now we are reaping it's wrath. We have lost sight of the two-parent homes and latch key children who raise themselves, we have taken away discipline from schools and allowed ever person who wanted to sue the school to win on such frivilous cases, we are scared to punish children as schools and parents because of some person/lawyer looking for lots of something for a whole lot of nothing!! We have given rewards, and time-outs to unruly children and students when we should of been giving suspensions and knock-outs. Children must learn that the world will not give them everything, they must earn and be held accountable for their actions. Because when they get into the real world and things are not given to them on a platter, they truly do not know how to handle rejection of any sort!! So the family is no longer a factor in raising children, the school is no longer allowed to punish or hold students accountable it is all on the teachers. The church is losing ground because of societies allowing god to be removed from school, communities, homes and goverment.Wanting in God we trust removed from our money and every goverment building. We are trying to remove God from all things and his principles and teachings, we are reaping the results of our societies actions. I want to be a part of something or someone who wants to do something about putting an end to these type of tragedies at Tech, Coloumbine, and Paducah KY.

I am a survivor of a "psycho gunman massacre" that took place in Florida in the mid-80's when I was in college. It was a sunny late afternoon at a busy shopping plaza - a place & time you'd just not expect this kind of thing to happen.

My heart breaks everytime there is another such shooting spree - and they are happening with increasing frequency. Think back to the 50's before guns were so widely accessible and so lethal. I think the first such massacre happened in the 60's, then seems there were none for a while, but in the late 70's popped up again (specifically with disgruntled postal workers who were also typically vietnam vets - can you say "gone postal?"). Since the Korean War & Vietnam, the US economy has become increasingly driven by the "military/industrial machine." Why in God's name do regular citizens need semi-automatic weapons or tumbler rounds? (Ammo that shreds flesh is kinda useless for a hunter if he actually wants the meat to eat from the deer). Do you realize how modern guns and ammo are not really about sport shooting or hunting animals? It is quite clear these weapons are all about killing humans. Our modern media pounds us with images of violence that feed into the mental quandary facing many people today. Society is getting more competitive, more violent, and less humane - it is no wonder that young people are "going postal" under the stress!

The survivors will carry this for the rest of their lives in ways that you can't imagine. The worst effect is that they will never feel safe or trust again - you constantly wonder when & where something bad will happen, and these thoughts run continuously (sometimes like daydreams even) in the back of your mind. Your expectations or "schema" for where you should feel safe vs where you should feel cautious get shattered from this - there are no safe places, bad things can and do happen everywhere and all the time. It effects you in how you work, think, feel, interact - it impacts everything. Forever.

We need to be sensitive to the survivors - and not just in the short term. They will be jumpy - I remember diving for the pavement a few weeks after my experience when I caught a flash of bird poop flying by in the corner of my eye while walking in a parking lot. I was so embarrassed. Years later I did a "duck & cover" when a car backfired - this was shortly after another such massacre had happened (survivors will experience flashback). These survivors may also grow up to be restless - if you don't feel safe it's hard to feel connected and stay in place. They may have unexplained anxiety with certain people or situations or places that somehow evoke memories of their experience. They may become very serious, and achievement oriented - life's no lovely ride anymore, and they survived for a reason (my family knows that I can be a tad driven). They may seek out thrills or engage in risky behaviors - or become toughened and seek the tough jobs. I teach in a pretty rough High School by choice - hey in my mind it is no more dangerous than going to the grocery store!

Take care of these survivors, they need our understanding and attention - not the shooter. The survivors have a lot to work through and it will take time, but if we help them they can truly grow from this experience and be amazing (though perhaps quirky) adults.

My very soul is grieved over this horrific event. I, too, marvel at the many red flags that were seen yet nothing was done to help the troubled young man. As it has been said, our laws of individual rights and privacy have rendered it virtually impossible to help troubled minds when we encounter them. As long as the rights of the individual superceed the need to protect the masses we will hear of such horror stories. I hope and pray that legislators will consider the sacrifice of these innocent young people's lives at Virginia Tech as they reflect on laws being written for "homeland security."

Sadly there are more troubled and disturbed young people who need our help and understanding. But there is something wrong with our system when such a person can just walk into a store and buy handguns. Will we ever learn??

I echo the feelings of heartbreak for all of the victims and their families that many people have already shared. It's interesting, I think, that we've heard no mention of a comment from the boy's parents.

In today's society where horror films unlike anything I could even consider "normal imagination" are a box office draw for those society considers normal, how can we possibly be expected to "read the signs" of a troubled youth? I would consider any of the horror film writers to be in need of psychological help if not institutionalization for the bizarre places their imaginations go, yet these films make it to the box office and folks go see them, young people watch them at home with or without parental supervision. No one is telling any of the young folks that this action is wrong, we bely our words when we allow these same actions on the screen in the theater or worse our homes.

My second point is that while I was doing my student teaching I was very troubled and concered by the de-socialization of our youth. Students I passed in the halls never made eye contact or spoke. The world is tough enough for the "outcasts" but for it to be acceptable that everyone passes everyone else in the halls without speaking or smiling any kind of recognition simply breeds the kind of actions where it is understood that we are all invisible and life doesn't matter. We, as educators, need to ensure that we are teaching students the necessity of being social human beings.. and it starts in school hallways. Speak to each other, force students to greet you when you pass them in hallways, talk about it in the classrooms...teach common courtesy and manners! Let's stop the belief that anyone is invisible.

Let's pray for the family of Cho who must be devistated that their son killed even one other human being, much less 33, while they cope with the grief of their own son.

There is a need for some form of intervention in our children's lives and the most likely intervention is "character education" programs. We need to begin the process of teaching our children interracial social skills that teaches them tolerance and patience. By implementing programs that focus on character development, we (educators) might provide them with the ability to communicate their feelings and prevent these types of massacres.

Please lay off of the military and firearms. If he did not have access to guns he would have found another way (bombs, fire, drive a car through a crowded area, etc). According to the information I have read so far he has had problems for years and this is how he lashed out. It was a carefully planned event on his part, locations, video, pictures, chains and locks for the door, weapons, ammo, vest... you get the idea. He blamed others for his inability to coexist with society and resisted taking responsibility for his actions. Everyone (with VERY few exceptions) who does something mean, violent, or irrational had to make a cognitive decision to do so. The media broadcasts violent programs leading to desensitation and then drools all over the results of their work. Despite my last statement, I still say actions such as his required conscious thought. Before you blame the tool look at the user. Before you deride the entire military realize the negative reports are the exception not the rule. Before you cry take away the weapons research the countries that have strict gun laws and discover the reality of their mass murdering gunmen. You are educated people, use your brain instead of falling for hype.

I ache for the loss of life... and like everyone, I struggle with how to make sense of the tragedy. I have read that Cho was mentally ill, a very disturbed, unstable person. Yet I wonder what in his childhood may have lead him down this path? There are many people who suffer with mental illness who do not commit such unspeakable crimes, perhaps it should even be said that most people don't take this path. So I find myself asking... what led Cho to do this?

I have long believed that there is too much violence in our society... the games, the TV shows, movies, all of it. I have tried to raise my children to understand that violence is not acceptable and that weapons (even pretend ones) are not toys to play with, that pretend violence is not the kind of make-believe that they should be engaged in. I have sheltered them from the violence in movies and on TV, not even watching the news in their presence when violence and death is being reported. But it is a difficult lesson to teach when so many of their friends play with pretend guns, pretending to shoot each other, pretending to have wars, pretending to kill each other. I often feel that I am the only one who feels this way, that other parents are not the least concerned when their children pretend to kill their friends. Some say that it's just another form of "tag," but when one child points a finger or Nerf gun at another and says, "pow, pow, pppppppppppp! I got you! You are DEAD!" my stomach turns. We don't let our children pretend to use drugs, we don't let them pretend to steal, or pretend to break into houses... WHY is okay to let them pretend to kill people? Is this form of play desensitizing our children? Is it contributing to the acts of violence we've seen in the last 20 years? I don't know the answer...

I have lived in Blacksburg for 27 years and received both my BS and MA from Virginia Tech. We are terribly impacted here. It feels like 9/11 all over again. My children will be out of school until Monday due to "safety concerns". Our beautiful town has been overrun by reporters and giant news vans and it is hard to talk or think about anything but the massacre. I was fortunate not to have known any of the victims personally, but the ties are trickling in. The victims were my son's friend's sister, my friends' colleagues, my other son's friend's lacrosse coach, and so on. We are all touched and we are all sad.
Quite a few of my colleagues have children who are current VT students. This morning one of them expressed the wish for metal detectors and security guards on campus. I told her that I did not think that many people wanted their campus to be transformed into this type of place. She told me I might feel differently if I had a child there.

I don't think so. I live 2 miles from campus and run there 3 or 4 days a week. My children play soccer on the Drillfield in the summer. We all attend cultural events there and use the library. I live in a community where many of us don't ever lock our doors. We choose to feel safe. We choose to trust our neighbors even after one of us turns out to be psychopathic. We choose to make a community of our town. We will not live in fear.

The murderer was sick. He had been involuntarily commited and tested a couple of years ago. He was released because there was no proof that he was an immediate danger to himself or others. This is how our country is supposed to work. One cannot be held captive without just cause. Cho had a right to walk among us. Unfortunately, my state's gun laws also allowed him to purchase semi-automatic weapons and 50 clips of ammunition when he lied about his involuntary commitment. Perhaps it is this freedom that we should be questioning. Yesterday, Robert Reich pointed out that of the 56 school shootings that had taken place worldwide in the last ten years, 45 were in America.

As a high school teacher in Virginia, with many friends, family members and former students at Tech, this has been earth-shaking. We held a moment of silence (an everyday occurrence) to honor those who lost their lives on Monday - for the first time since I can remember, it was actually SILENT. This small feat spoke volumes about how seriously this has affected all of us, teachers and students alike.

I talk to my students - we watched CNN as the news was breaking and again on and off throughout the day on Tuesday. We are all honoring the "Hokies for Hope day tomorrow with spriit wear and ribbons.

Did they do enough? Do we ever do enough to stop a broken mind from venting his displaced rage? Is that even possible? I do think our intruder drills will be taken more seriously - at least for a time. Then we will all relax our vigilance and someone else with a will, will overcome all the saftey measures we have in place, and more innocent people will die. Freak tragedy occurs wherever and whenever it does. The experts have spoken. THere is no pattern -- without a pattern, there are no effective preventions. Sadly, this is the price we pay for a free and open society.

These types of tradegies have always occured and will continue to occur. The use of modern weapons has allowed for an individual to inflict large amounts of carnage and death in a short amount of time and space.
We, as a society, cannot legislate safety. Safety comes from neighbors watching their neighbors, and on up society's ladder. A university campus is always a place where protest takes place, be they peaceful or not. Individuals have many rights that protect them from themselves and society. These same safeguards do not allow authorities to take a person into custody. There are smaller instances all over the United States and the world that show that restraining orders should have been placed on individuals but were not. Consequently, sad cases of domestic violence and smaller versions of what happened at Virginia Tech occur.
We, as individuals, can be more viligent in looking out for ourselves and our neighbors, but there are still rights that protect all citizens.
Another point is the desensitazation of mankind due to the violence shown on TV and the movies. We are shown a person dying from several different camera angles and in slow motion or fast motion, depending on how horrified the director wants his audience to become. Children see so much violence that it no longer alarms or shocks us. Television is wonderful, however, our children need to understand that violence is horrible and cannot be a game that is to be played on the computer.

I can't get a grasp on this situation as well as the many other life threatening occurrences that have been displayed over the last few years, specifically in our schools. I didn't discuss the shootings with my children and no one brought the subject up. We had a moment of silence at our school. Honestly, I don't even know what I would have said. Our children have been exposed to entirely too much violence. It's almost like they take for granted that these things happen, just like another day.

I teach at a "community day school" for students who have been expelled from regular middle school for violent acts. It was especially important, to me, that I help put this tragedy into perspective with my students. Rather than dwell on the gunman's many videos, pictures, and rambling letters that the media so quickly published - and thereby glorified - we discussed more salient issues. We talked about the gunman's troubled past, what depression can look like and even how to help a friend that they might be concerned about. For my students, mostly boys, it opened up a discussion about how to be safe at school, what to do if life seems overwhelming, how our actions impact others,and learning how to deal with change - moving up to high school is often more frightening and depressing than they let on. Although this tragedy is not close to home for us in California, it allowed me to have a dialogue with my students that probably wouldn't have happened otherwise.

As a teacher of young children, I have spent a tremendous amount of time teaching children empathy, compassion and respect for one another. While social skills are a critical part of the ability to be a good citizen and a productive member of society, my colleagues and I are continually being pressured to forget about all that and concentrate on academics for younger and younger children. Parents find it difficult to set limits and offer clear expectations, yet expect that their children will know how to be leaders. Appallingly there is even serious talk of testing preschool children! I fear our society is headed for even more trouble as teachers are forced to train students to value quantifiable attributes such as grades, competition and selfishishness at the expense of cooperative social skills, critical thinking, creativity,and resilience.

Whether we know it or not, every single one of the people who have access to this open forum are vunerable to this tragedy. Yes, we need to be aware of the consequences of our and our students actions; yes, we need to keep our kids best intersts at heart. But I can't let this week seep from my memory with indifference. All of us are dedicated to our jobs in some way or another to the future of our country and it is a job that many do not understand, nor are they willing to. And in this time, it is easy for most to pass over such a tragedy as not worth pure attention and and self-inquiry. As teachers, we cannot avoid such an inward glance. We feel our students within us and, though sometimes we fight it, we love every individual that walks through the door. Because of this, we are easy targets to express the ills of our culture. We are molding the minds of the future, and the more that we experience the pain of these nationwide events, the more we feel the critical eye upon us. What do we care of that? We are attempting what few would admit to being able to do. No matter the cost, I am proud of the effort shown by educators.

I was in high school in Jefferson County when the shootings at Columbine occured. I didn't know any individual personally who attended that school, just as I didn't know anyone from Virginia Tech. But I weeped for both experiences, as I do for any tragedy in the school sytem. I don't want to separate myself from these events, because these events express the humanity that we try to reach, that we try to connect with, that EVERY person could be sitting next to in the DMV, restaurant or subway. This is our reality. And why it is easy for all of us to express our words in an open forum, the struggle lies with the action. Action is what has the ability to set us apart from other professions. We teach our kids to think, but are we capable to teach our kids to act?

I struggle with this idea, as I know, most of us do: how do we push ourselves even further? It is hard (nearly impossible) for me to do so, but when can we say that we have done enough? That is the stigma of our profession: it is impossible for us to say "when," because what can happen after that point?

I am not posting this message to offer answers or comforts, though I wish I could. I am posting because this has been one of the hardest weeks of my teaching career because it makes me look myself in the face, and I don't know what I see. How can this be my life, when all I wanted was to offer my assistance to a group other than my friends? How can I protect these babies. as I see them, from a future that must make them feel pain? How can I help them when I know what they face? I "dream with a broken heart" for them. I dream of a time when I can mobilize myself to be their savior. Is it possible? Who knows.

But today I am recommitting myself to the effort.

As a graduate student at VT, I commute almost 2 hours there and 2 hours back and I have always felt safe at campus. Now? It will be hard to go back to campus but I will never get over this as other Hokies--we will survive. We cannot dwell on fear as it could happen anytime-anywhere. Faith will provide. What else can we do? If these victims can return I can.

I heartily agree with those who say the tragic violence at VA Tech came too high a price by such a troubled psycho-pathic young man. I do believe that the family is accountable for some of this...but it takes a village to raise a child. We as educators do need to raise our collective voices up against teaching agendas and policies that place test scores above reaching out to troubled youth. What is more unfathomable is that Cho's troubles began as achild even in Korea, according to his great aunt. They were exacerebated by middle school taunts--and all this after Columbine. After listening to several hours of repeats of his rants last evening, it called to mind what I have heard on documentaries--ever hear Hitler! The other troubling aspect is that he mentionned sexual abuse. Can it be possible that his rant was against someone who stole his innocence at an early age by molesting him? Not so far fetched when we consider that 1 in 4 American citizens is a survivor of childhood sexul abuse. And--uncontrollable rage is an unfortunate result of that type of abuse.
The media coverage glorifying his act, though, is equally abusive to our youth. I am glad that the media has stopped showing the videos.
My heart goes out to the families of victims, to the Blacksburg community, and to all involved. My son went to Tech--we have some Hokie blood running through our veins!
Go Hokies!! And dress in orange and maroon tomorrow to show our support for the true heroes--the 32 victims and 22 wounded!

In response to the Virginia Tech Massacre, our school has reviewed lock down procedures. I don't like to talk about the event too much, because I do not want to scare my students. However, Ada, I agree with you! Let us continue to pray that our nation returns to God. As parents, teachers, and community members, we need to nurture, support, and train our children in His pleasing and perfect ways (Love the Lord with all your heart...., and love your neighbor as yourself). Then our nation will be blessed!

Sadly last year my senior level psychology students were studying the Columbine incident and what motivated those students. What we found was that the school/university culture that promotes and highlights the brightest and best, with little but superficial resources for struggling students, can be one of the determining factors for students with psychological issues. I agree wholeheartedly with the comments by Chelli Miller, Communities in Schools of EC/Executive Director and also Gregg San Nicolas, Director SPED. This said, I am not at all condoning this very disturbed young man's actions, and my prayers are with all those who have suffered as a result.

Lots of interesting comments, Diana Benavides you hit the mark Its all about "LOVE" babies cry for it and grown men will die for it.

The seeds of this tradegdy were planted years ago. I believe a smile, Love, respect and kindness would have had an impact on this as well as the other school shootings. Thier are many common elements. We all desire that acceptence and value. Most important is how we value ourselves. I have heard it said that you cannot like or love anyone more than you like or love yourself. So value your fellow teacher, student , child and human being. Value yourself, cause no matter where you have been or what you have done you are worthy of love. Practice it , model it and teach it...

Our priorities must be on the children if we are to have bright futures;
Society should ask: How are the children?

Among the most accomplished and fabled tribes of Africa, no tribe is considered to have warriors more fearsome or more intelligent than the mighty Masai. It is perhaps surprising, then, to learn the traditional greeting that passed between Masai warriors, "Kasserian Ingera," ... means "And how are the children?" It is still the traditional greeting among the Masai, acknowledging the high value that the Masai always place on their children's well-being. Even warriors with no children of their own would always give the traditional answer, "All the children are well." Meaning, of course, that peace and safety prevail, that the priorities of protecting the young, the powerless, are in place. ...

I wonder how it might affect our consciousness of our own children's welfare if, in our culture, we took to greeting each other with this daily question: "And how are the children?" I wonder if we heard that question and passed it along to each other a dozen times a day, if it would begin to make a difference in the reality of how children are thought of or cared about in our own country. I wonder if every adult among us, parent and non-parent alike, felt an equal weight for the daily care and protection of all the children in our community, in our town, in our state, in our country. ... What would it be like? I wonder.

With Love and Graditude

Kreg Cobb


A Smile

A smile costs nothing, but gives much. It enriches those who receive, without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it, and none is so poor but that he can be made rich by it. A smile creates happiness in the home, fosters goodwill in business, and is the countersign of friendship. It brings rest to the weary, cheer to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and it is nature's best antidote for trouble. Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give.

With Love And Graditude


What was interesting to me is that it did not shock the students. They were not surprised that a student would act that way after hearing he was picked on. Student comments "I heard that the killer had been the brunt of daily bullying."

"I don't blame him, if I had to deal with that I would either self-mutilate or act out against someone. It is hard to deal with that especially when no one comes to help you or you have no one to turn to. He was alone. He could not help that he sounded different or looked funny."

Another student said, "yeah, even though I know it is not right, some people are going to reach a breaking point when they are picked on. The picking on is not right and the going after people that way is not right, but what do we do?"

"That's life."

For any teachers who are concerned about their students who show signs of PTSD there is a program that InnerLink is offering called Project Recover for free of use until June 1, 2007. They are also offering the ability to download free posters to place in their teachers lounge or classrooms dealing with mental and emotional trauma. They have courses that parents and teachers can also access at no charge. If anyone is interested go to www.theinnerlink.com

This is another tragic event in the history of our country, and my prayers are with all who were affected by this. However, I think it is time we stop going so far to prtect the rights of mentally ill people and do more to protect the lives of their potential victims. There should have been a way to have kept his individual in a mental health care facility and there should hve ben a way his parents could have been informed about his needs/status. IT is so unfortunate that so many people feared this person, but nothing could be done. I work in a large school system, and we , too could identify a number of students who could also inflict great harm on many. But, we can't actually do anthing at this point. How crazy is that? It is like saying we can't treat cancer until it kills us!

I am deeply saddened by what happened at Virginia Tech. The killer was one sick SOB. Too bad he wasn't alive, so he could face justice.

Yesterday, I had resigned a long term Math teaching assignment after only three days. The Principal of the school felt it was a MINOR incident when a male student threatened to kill three female students in one of the Grade 8 classes. What a bloody idiot! I wasn't going to put up with that, especially considering what has happened at Columbine and Virginia Tech.

The four classes that I had were very problematic for the regular teacher. She was constantly having to yell at them, because they absolutely refused to listen to her. The previous substitute teacher could not handle them and left. I came in and I could only handle them for three days. The first day I had to call the school police during my second period, because the class thought they did not have to listen to me. I don't need the headache or heartache.

As a result, on Monday I decided that I am never going to teach at the middle school level. I have been in many high schools and have never experienced anything like this before.

Has anyone stopped to think that the 'reason' for Cho's violent aggression may not be a result of chosen aberrant or selfish behavior, but might instead be a result of his physiology? His violent acting-out may have resulted from any number of physical pathologies which could have culminated in atypical behaviors, obviously exhibited in aggression. Did he have a brain lesion from a minor childhood injury? Neurological disfunction? Disease-related pathology? Blood glucose disorders or even bipolar disorder? Any number of other undetected, untreated pathologies which could have culminated in antisocial or paranoid behaviors and anger? The truth is, WE JUST DON'T KNOW, and until this avenue, as in all suggestions, is researched thoroughly and competently, the public may never know what CAUSED his behavior.
My point is this: Let's get off the 'blame train' for a while and think outside the box. Yes, gun control, parental control, social controls, improved educational leadership, and better public safety are all fundamental issues in preventing another heart-breaking tragedy like the Columbine and Va. Tech massacres, but there are so many variables involved in human behaviors that we may never know how to control for the next catastrophe of violence and sorrow. Sometimes, bad things just happen from uncontrolled causes and, yes, it hurts horribly.
In the meanwhile, whatever Cho's problems were, 32 victims' families and friends are grieving their loved ones. This includes the Cho family, for they have lost a son, too. Their son's problem(s) may have reached a critical point too slowly or even too quickly for the family to react to his needs. I have read the Cho family's public statement, and they are suffering with grief, guilt, fear, and a sense of bewilderment. My heart goes out to them, and to every affected person of the tragedy at Va. Tech. I observe that nobody has a more righteous claim to pain than anyone else. Everyone is hurting and grieving, and that's just how it is.
In my long life, I have observed that human lives are relatively short in the vast scheme of Time. Humans can't, even at their most sensitive, always put all the signals of impending doom together. There is no guarantee in life of anything, not even another day. As far as the human condition goes, not one of us can do everything necessary to save the world, but each of us must do what we can to help it, and that, indeed, begins with strength, love and forgiveness. In the presence of sorrow, sometimes that's all we have.
Knee-jerk reactionism, bitterness and blame only impede the dissipation of sorrow and grief. Improving the human condition in general may not be a matter of blame or aggregate social failures, or even fixing an imperfect system, but more a matter of individual compassion, rationality and perseverance, along with the acceptance of unpredictability. At some point in life, each one of us confronts chaos and violence, explainable or not. And at the same point, all we can do is just grieve it, stand firm, and move on, no matter what cause is attributed.
Teachers, in general, know every day that they face probable chaos and potential violence when they walk into a classroom, simply because they are dealing with unpredictable human natures. And yet they -we- must model ideal compassion and rationality for students. Such a duty is a daunting task. It requires a cool head and steele guts to carry through, but it is necessary because it just might prevent one future aggressor from choosing sorrow over help.

It was tragic.

Canada doesn't have these problems.

Go figure.

The Virginia Tech tragedy is sad and horrific, but I think that people should stop trying to put blame on the University, or police, or whoever they try to blame.
17 years ago, a man took hostages at a bar next to my dorm at UC Berkeley. The Berkeley police, campus police, and SWAT team were well prepared and had even practiced for such situations the year before. And people were shot and some were killed all because an angry man didn't like blonde people. The University was as prepared as it could be. It still happened. And Virginia Tech's professors and police did all they could, too.
I am angered that people try to blame the inequalities of society, or mental illness, or race, etc.. in these situations. Pointing fingers doesn't prevent these things from happening. Society, good or bad, is not going to change, and there's no way anyone or any school can prevent these things from happening no matter how prepared they are. All anyone can do is support and care for each other.

Reading more of the comments, I am disturbed by the fact that many are so ready to blame this on the mentally ill. The perpetrator of the incident may have had a mental illness (I believe I heard that he suffered from major depression and narcissism, which is described in the DSM-IV), but that does not mean that everyone who has a mental illness is a danger to society. There are many people who suffer from major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, DID, etc...that are NOT violent and would NEVER commit such a horrible act.
As educators, I would have expected more from you who blame mental illness. You are the ones who need to be educated. We have enough hate and discrimination in this world already. Do you want to spread it further to your students?
I teach in California and have taken classes that address mental illness, classes required for both a California Teaching Credential and my Masters degree (Child and Adolescent Literacy). Maybe such requirements are needed in other states.
And to all of you who do not live in the United States, do you really believe that these things do not happen your society as well? When I taught English in Japan, the Japanese were appalled at the violence in the US as they followed the story of Jon Benet. They all said that that would never happen in Japan. No, maybe not the same thing, but there was a teenager that chopped off a kid's head and left them in front of a school. Take a closer look at your society. You will find violence there, too.

I was born and raised in Blacksburg, VA and Blacksburg has always been known as a safe place. A place where family, community, and faith stood as the foundation of who and what we are. We all know each other and in good times and bad, we are always there for each other. And it showed in this horrible tragedy. This country was able to see the true meaning of a HOKIE--we come together and represent pride and family.

This should be a wake-up call for every school system to see that we need to ensure the safety on all school campuses and to not take the "red flags" on each student lightly. My school system is extremely large and my school itself is large. What makes it scary for me is to know that anyone can walk up on my public school campus and get into any building--and we have many buildings at our school. What is it going to take to keep our staff and students safe? LOCK THE DOORS!! Put cameras in the buildings, metal detectors at the entrances, security within each building, and most importantly....PARENT INVOLVEMENT. Our parents have got to step up to the plate and take a more active role in their child--no matter the age. Elementary to even college, RAISE YOUR CHILD!! If the parents were active in their child's life, then SICK students like Cho would not have slipped through the cracks.

Now, because of his stupidity and evil actions, my hometown has been stripped of its purity. We do not want this to happen at other schools, so wake up moms and dads....listen to your child and observe your child. Don't wait until a parent conference or at report card time to get involved, do it now.

As for the so-called getting picked on issue, deal with it. He was a grown adult--handle it like a real man and talk with someone or that person. Don't take the lives of innocent people. Saint Albans mental hospital was 10 minutes away from VT, check yourself in! Cho, you are an evil coward.

To my Blacksburg family and friends, the world is praying for you. Most importantly, God is watching over you and is also saddened by this. Let's not use this as a tragedy, but a teaching tool to show our students that WE ARE VIRGINIA TECH!

Amen to Mr. Gregg San Nicolas! We cannot throw medicines or more lockdown procedures at our children and public schools. This is a pattern ... a social pattern that is a social problem. It's time we look at WHY these children are angry. Our society is failing our most important natural resource. I don't have time to jot down all my thoughts, but I must say this is not altogether different from the violence that has permeated the inner city schools in the 80's and up to today. The social structure is different ... but children are not.

Mrs. Tellers:

Thank you for your kind recognition that a diagnosis of mental illness does not equal mass killer. Typically, persons with mental illness, if a danger, are a far greater danger to themselves.

I have a son with bipolar disorder. I recall wondering following the Columbine tragedy how my son would be punished for this. The "special school" he attended at the time (where they allowed "time outs" in a padded room and teachers were trained in "restraints," that only sometimes moved into physical abuse) did not allow students to carry bookbags (they could conceal a weapon), notebooks or other paper keepers (they could be used as a weapon). One advantage of the "special school" was that the disabled population wasn't a target. The biggest disadvantage was that there wasn't much education there.

Whether Seung-hui suffered from a diagnosible, treatable condition that spurred or contributed to his actions is something we may never know. What we do know is that treatment for mental illness in this country is fractured, inadequate, and frequently depends on the mentally ill person to recognize the state and submit to treatment.

It's hard to know when a quiet child became pathological, but many disorders don't manifest until adulthood. Cho was a senior, which means he had been away at school for four years. His parents, according to a NY Times report, both worked 14 hour days until recently when his mother began work in a high school cafeteria so that they would have health insurance.

There is no need to blame. But we can use the situation to learn, and to commit to making the needed care that we know is lacking available to all in need.

As teachers we are always so busy covering the curriculum that even when our students are trying to get our attention, we sometimes fail to see their weeping eyes ,crying out for help. Sometimes we need to just stop the lesson and reach out to our students, offer a word of cheer, a pat on the shoulder will do sometimes, and let them see that you do care.This young man sent out several signals and they were not seen. Let us learn from this horrible tragedy and keep our ears and hearts open to help our students deal with their problems. It is better to say you have tried. If you fail, get professional help.I work at a school in Jamaica and we are very concern about this situation, we share in this problem and pray for peace in the eye of the storm for these families that were affected.

Adella Morle-Smith I could not agree more about everything you said "we sometimes fail to see their weeping eyes ,crying out for help". I feel this way in all situations in which I am in contact with people. I believe in the saying that "We are our brother's keeper"

I think that public schools, community colleges and other educational institutions run by state or federal government should have the same strict rules in other local, state, or federal building in regards to weapons such as handguns and knives. After a school district or state university or community college are government agencies or establishments. Local police needs to full cooperation with school district teachers and other officials.

I have read most of the posts here, and see all perspectives as containing a piece of the solution and the problem. Our society is very violence and gun-oriented. We have isolated children for the past 30 years as families have found themselves less and less able to afford the "luxury" of actually parenting. We have moved our laws on every level towards protecting the individual's rights-especially those individuals who may legitimately claim to have been abused by the systems (family, church, and educational) that until recently were always assumed to be supportive. Those changes in laws, however, though helpful in protecting against the very real minority of abuses, have led to lack of differentiation and eliminating the most positive forces that the majority still experience. Teachers may not hug an angry or hurt child, for fear of being accused of sexual abuse. Parents may not find enforcement help when they attempt to get a teen into medical or mental health treatment, or even to keep a teen at home within their care, because we have become so sensitized to the relatively few parents who do abuse their children. By the way, those abusive parents have often gotten that way through increasing desperation and instability in the resources available to them to provide for themselves and their children, because of changes in our laws and outlook that allow corporations to bust unions and lay off employees without paying any taxes on the huge profits they are expected to INCREASE every year. Schools must follow increasingly extreme FERPA regulations-to the point of not being allowed to communicate with parents over troubling behavior of their student. Health care providers and counselors must also follow increasingly extreme privacy requirements, so that different professionals seeing different parts of a youth's problems may not communicate with one another to form a holistic picture and plan of action. Finally, nobody is willing to pay taxes for the infrastructure support systems required to truly offer a judge with a suicidal mentally ill defendent a resource to commit to a locked down mental health facility. In my community in Eugene, OR, there are plenty of mental health providers, school officials willing to reach out and help, parents who care deeply about their children and would do anything they could for them, and yet--if a judge were faced with a commitment decision, he/she would be faced with the fact that the local psychiatric hospital closed 6 years ago, the local mental health ward at the regular hospital only has a few beds, and the organizations that serve the majority of mental health needs in this area have consistently lost funding in each of the past 12 years due to people's unwillingness to pay to provide these services. The workers in mental health might be required to hold a MS or above, yet can only find pay scales that make them eligible for food stamps--so they must essentially be either volunteers working another job or be willing to live below the poverty level. Currently there are NO mental health beds in my entire county for teen girls! Not one! The situation is only mildly better for teen boys. So no judge can commit except in very rare cases. This, by the way, is the county in which the Thurston shootings occurred prior to Columbine. Remember Kip Kinkle?

Yes, he had some very bad parenting-his father actually gave him guns as presents and encouraged his little hobby of collecting intensive weapons. No, I cannot imagine how arming the frantic high school students in the cafeteria would have made the situation better. More likely stray bullets and confusion would have caused more deaths. Yes, he had been under mental health care-on antidepressants, recently ended. No, there had not been a lockdown commitment decision for a clear mental illness that posted a threat to self or others.

We need to change MANY things, and mostly we need to find ways to include our children and teens in a world that feels positive and connected to community.

I wish blessings and some kind of peace to all the families affected by this.

One other thing...the day after the VT shooting, a major attack occurred in Baghdad, leading to even more U.S. deaths-kids in the same age range as the VT students and shooter. I find it appalling that we can talk about how kids should not be violent in their home towns or their schools, but we encourage that exact same violence in an ill-defined war on a country that never harmed us.

Eugene, OR

To George Carlyl,
I'm an education reporter in Flagstaff, Ariz., and I'd like your e-mail address to interview you. I'm covering campus security at our college here. Many comments posted on my story are from students who say people should have the right to arm themselves for protection on campus. I think you'd be able to offer an interesting counter-argument. Could you e-mail me at [email protected] with your contact information?

I hate the fact that I now associate a beautiful week in April with the loss of young lives. I have never understood why we allow our children to carry and use guns. My heart goes out to all of the families affected and to all of the school
personnel and students and their families that are indirectly affected by this. I pray the the Lord will watch over our nation and our young students.

The school should have canceled classes IN RESPECT for the two students that were killed...AT 7:30...YOU DON'T CARRY ON WITH REGULAR BUSINESS...THE COLLEGE PRESIDENT SHOULD BE FIRED!

The world is expressing bewilderment at the actions of Cho Seung-Hui, the Virginia Tech student who shot and killed 32 people in the largest campus mass-murder in history. However, it seems that at least some explanation for his execrable crime is slowly emerging. Cho's story is a classic portrait of a young man who lost all sense of connection to the people around him and became capable of mass murder.

The New York Times (April 22, 2007) reported that Cho led a lifetime of excruciating silence: "From the beginning, he did not talk. Not to other children, not to his own family. … [In high school] he was unresponsive in class, and unwilling to speak. … Classmates recall some teasing and bullying over his taciturn nature. The few times he was required to speak for a class assignment, students mocked his poor English and deep-throated voice." Recently at Virginia Tech, as Cho's behavior grew ever stranger and the writing he submitted in class became more violent and obscene, he "was allowed to remain in the seminar but was placed off to the side, where, [his teacher] said, he did not speak. She did not share his writings with the class. …. And then he stopped going to class. (NY Times, April 19, 2007)."

It is a pattern that has been repeated too many times, in too many school tragedies. When society isolates social offenders it only decreases their desire to behave appropriately. They lose their sense of "connectedness" to their fellow human beings and lash out violently, a reaction that the world — rightly — finds shocking and appalling.

This is not a crisis that can be solved by tougher enforcement of “zero tolerance” policies, which studies (such as a recent report from the American Psychological Association) have shown to be ineffective at best and further damaging to social relationships at worst. Rather, it is restoration of the sense of connectedness, essential for social and emotional health, which is critical.

The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (1994—present), a large federally funded research project, found that where school environments promote connectedness, there are significant positive outcomes among students, such as less violence, less drug and alcohol use and less teen pregnancy. The need for children and young people (and, indeed, all people), to feel they belong and are cared for is one of the most crucial requirements for good health and well-being.

But how can schools create connectedness, while at the same time addressing serious behavioral problems?

The emerging social science known as "restorative practices," which is spreading throughout education, criminal justice, and child and family services across the world, speaks directly to this issue. As a proactive expansion of "restorative justice," a collaborative process involving those most directly affected by a crime in determining how best to repair the harm caused by the offense, "restorative practices" posits that the best way to help troubled people is to directly engage them in a restorative environment, one that fosters that essential sense of connectedness.

In a restorative environment, such as those that have been created at the alternative schools my wife and I started 30 years ago for delinquent and high-risk youth, "restorative practices" are systematically applied. These practices help create a supportive, caring environment for youth who have been rejected by other schools and the world at large. Above all, restorative practices are about engaging people. “Check-in” groups are held several times a day, so that every student may speak about his or her feelings and experiences. In this way, everyone feels heard and understood, building that all-important sense of community and connectedness. When students in these alternative schools misbehave, problems are neither swept under the rug nor handled rigidly. Instead, the students are asked to take responsibility for their actions. They must reflect on their own behavior, hear how their behavior has affected others and find ways to repair harm caused by their actions. A connection is again made, this time between action and consequence, and with a supportive group of peers and staff that, however, insists on accountability.

Empirical research has shown that restorative practices produce remarkably positive outcomes in the behavior and attitudes of young people who attend the alternative schools where the practices are consistently applied. Similar positive outcomes have been seen in public schools that have embraced restorative practices throughout the world, including those in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Research has shown restorative practices to be particularly effective in dealing with bullying, and in lowering suspension, expulsion and truancy rates. A new graduate school, the International Institute for Restorative Practices, has been founded to provide education and research and to help foster this emerging social science.

I do not believe that the people who comprised Cho Seung-Hui's community at Virginia Tech are to blame for what happened there. I only want to suggest, for the sake of the future, that if people like Cho Seung-Hui experienced restorative practices as part of their educational environment, it would enhance and sustain that critical sense of connectedness — crucial to all human health and well-being — so that hideous tragedies like this would be far less likely.

As educators, we must incorporate social, emotional and problem solving skills in our curriculum beginning with kindergarten and continue to middle school.

Lets be proactive in dealing with school violence, not reactive.

After 9/11 every situation provokes a heightened reaction on out part. We're glued to the news and can't seem to get enough information. Once the event is over, we sit back and wait for the next one to show up. My heart grieves for the victims and the community, but also for the assailant who is somebody else's son. I look at my school and see no effect, shile I'm heartbroken and not sleeping well. THESE ARE TERRIBLE TIMES, BUT WE ARE SOWERS OF LOVE AND HOPE IN THE FUTURE. God help ua continue to do our life's work, every day, no matter the obstacles. And when we can't any longer, may we have the presence of mind to accept retirement or the alternative with grace and dignity. God help us all.

I read through the comments on this blog. My family lives in Blacksburg, and both my sister and brother attended Tech. I see the points of many of these postings, but the comment from D. Dawsey stands out to me above the rest. Shame on our exploited system of political correctness which has taught teachers that they can only do so much. I, too have heard this from experienced teachers - more than a few times. We can help our students. We have to get to know them, their circumstances, their parents... Where there's a will, there most definitely is a way! The standards based education required through laws like NCLB are often priority, but if we know our children, learning will fall into place. The most important issue to tackle as a teacher and a parent is the value of life and all that it encompasses.
God Bless Everyone affected by the incident at VA Tech! My thoughts and prayers are with you!

As a former social worker now turned EC teacher, I have encountered the so called "undesirables" of our society in my community and in our schools. Most of what I can say could be said of anyone with a heart and head. The alienated seek to be understood and may not understand themselves. Acknowledgment brings safety and security to any living organism. Once those basic needs are met, they and we can get on to the job of teaching and learning. There are some who will take more of our time and effort and not necessarily money), to help them reach a place in society; which is what we all want and deserve. While I state that in theory and as an optimist, I realize that there has and will always be, a few individuals that cannot be reached. The children I teach are good kids. A few stand out as disrespectful, haughty, spoiled, promiscuous, or apathetic. They are not the majority. Children and young people depend upon us to help them see that there is good in this world. Promoting positive is something we can never stop doing. They are riding the wave into the future, but we are the force behind it. We need to spend more time in critical thinking, and (forgive my bias) less time in competitive endeavors for kids and adults alike. Many are on the sidelines crying out for a place in this society. We can't all be the best and brightest. Truthfully, with all that we have supposedly progressed, we continue to face the same enemy-and it is ourselves.

To Donna Petree:
You have hit the mark!

If we graded schools for the best rules, I am pretty sure our schools here in the U.S. will certainly take the cake. I am staring at this fantastic document we have for Los Lunas Schools entitled "Student Behavior Handbook" given to each student, receipt acknowledged by parents. So much thought and work has gone into the creation of this masterpiece. We claim that we are a nation of law. We have plenty of them for sure. We have a lot of lawyers to interpret them too.
We have become a nation of law to ensure freedom. However, everyday we discover through events and incidents unfolding all around us, that the very freedom that we are trying to protect is what is working against us. I have yet to see a student who can tell me what freedom is all about. Early on they get the impression that freedom is being able to do whatever they want. I see our young people being locked up more and more in Juvenile homes and diagnostic centers for doing what they want. Kids can't wait to be eighteen and be free so that they can do what the adults around them are doing day after day and getting away with. What is right or wrong is not the question. What is moral or immoral is not the question. What is just or unjust is not the question. What is good or bad is not the question. There is only one question that we consider: what is legal and what is illegal. And when it comes to doing something illegal, it is okay if you do not get caught. And if you get caught, it is okay if you can afford a good lawyer. If you cannot afford a good lawyer, it is enough to find someone else to blame for what happened. Who knows, you might get lucky and walk away with a settlement of a few millions, not to mention interviews with famous talk show hosts who are standing in line for your time, book deals, movie proposals what not. There are two things I believe in. They are good old fashioned things. They are LOVE and EDUCATION. Where our hearts are, there our treasure will also be. I do not know a whole lot about firearms. I had been to so many countries, shared life with so many cultures and religions and people in all walks of life. I have met people who were criminals, psychologically dangerous to themselves and others. I never had a gun, nor do I intend to have one ever. In the last fifty four years of my life, I never needed one and no one has ever hurt me physically, thanks to the advice of my old fashioned mother. I do not believe that guns are going to save anyone, neither are more rules and regulations. In my little corner, the only space on the planet where I am king, where my wishes are carried out to the fullest extent, I wake up each day and work each day to make a small difference. A very wise man whose autobiography affected my formation so much left a very simple sentence engraved in my heart and soul: 'see everything, overlook a great deal, imporve a little.' I have seen this to be most effective. I failed some here and there. But I have more success stories than I have time to share. I have heard a presidential candidate say during the debate last week the administration did not do enough to prevent the Virginia Tech incident from happening. There are a lot of things happening around me that I wish were different. There are lot of things I wish were different, but I cannot do anything about it. But my wish does not come true in those cases. But there is that part of the world where my wish always comes true, that little space where I am king. I am a professional in the field of education. I am not an educator. I believe that role is reserved for parents. My role is that of helping parents in their job of educating, and loving, not blaming them for what they do wrong or what they fail to do. If all I am doing is finding fault with what others are doing or not doing, what good am I? If that ever happens I should keep reminding myself that it takes a lot more to be able to create than to criticize. To my colleagues out there my simple invitation: let us do what we are capable of doing, what we are good at, what we are trained to do, ie. let's love and let's educate. Thanks for your time.

I see a lot of folks here all making a great point about what needs to be done. My husband is a teacher, has been for years. To support the teacher's plight, I think it is time we give teachers a break and we parents step up to the plate and parent our children! Why do teachers and schools have to be the ones to parents these children? Everything from sex ed to self-control to breakfast is expected to be delt with by teachers who have already too much to do for too little pay, just to educate our kids on math and the like. Parents everywhere - we need to wake up, cast aside our such "important things" and do what is right! We must realize that our "things" are becoming more important to us than our own children!!! If I were a kid today and got the feeling that my parents' deep pockets were more important to them than I, I surely would act up as well. Why not, I guess, I say flippantly, when teachers are there and stuck dealing with our lack of parenting. The heck with the fancy cars and big houses - what's the matter with us!!!???

I am not naive enough to think that the Tech gunman was only a result of poor parenting or inadequit schools and that it all plays a part. I know that parents everywhere are stepping back, blaming the teachers, the schools and the system. I take personal offence to this when there is no realization of the fact that we parents are not taking responsibility for being a huge part of the problem and are too busy blaming everyone else but ourselves.

I have seen first hand how hard teachers are already working and how there just isn't, in some cases, enough time in a day to parent all the kids out there who need to be parented. Teachers have their own lives, their own families, and need to be responsible and parent their own children, not always the children of the parents out there pointing fingers!

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