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How safe are our children in their schools part one


Recently in Knoxville, TN there was a shooting at an elementary school. The principal and vice principal were both shot several times and hospitalized in serious condition. The alleged shooter was a fourth grade teacher at the school and it has been reported that his contract was not going to be renewed for the next year so he shot the messenger so to speak, the ones who gave him the bad news. Luckily the children were let out of school early that day for snow and were not in the school at the time of the shooting. This brings up the question that is always asked when something happens at school of just how safe are our children in schools today.

There are wonderful and caring teachers and school personnel all across the country and they strive to keep children safe and able to concentrate and learn. However, whenever something like this happens it brings it all to the forefront, and naturally it frightens adults, parents, and school personnel alike. Usually adults can cope and recognize if they are having a difficult time. The alleged shooter in this instance, from reports, was having difficulties of some kind and brought them with him to the school where he taught. This is much more frightening for parents and children alike that a teacher would do this to someone in the school….

Additionally, just a few days later, there was another shooting at an Alabama University reported, where a teacher there allegedly shot and killed several school personnel after being denied tenure. There have been teachers in the news all over the country, as well as in East TN that have been inappropriately involved with their students. These adult teachers have authority over these children and are entrusted with their care. To betray this relationship is to cause emotional problems for these children. Trust is broken and can cause children to have difficulty with trusting in any relationship after this.

Children must feel safe to be able to concentrate and learn, and when they are not feeling as if they are in a safe environment and that the leaders they have in the schools are not able to keep them safe; children begin to have a difficult time with learning. They may even have psychological problems in the form of excessive fearfulness which can manifest itself in behavior changes either withdrawing or acting out.

Part two and part three are also available once published.



  • Debbie Dunn, School Conflict Resolution Examiner 5 years ago

    My thoughts and prayers go out to all people involved in both shootings! My heart goes out not only to the victims of the shootings, but also the fourth-grade students who came to school that morning sitting in his classroom. I can't help wondering what frame of mind he was in as he interacted with his students. Was he patient and kind to them or terribly on edge? I hope those kids make a smooth transition with the new teacher they will hire to take his place.

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