Sandy Hook: Random Acts of Kindness

Whenever I hear about school shootings, my heart trembles. Nearly 2 years ago my high school was involved in this type of tragedy. Because I no longer live in the town I grew up in, it's hard for me to say how they overcame and made it through that terrible time (and continue to do so). I can only speak for me. Since I have been out of that town for 8 years, I didn't know the people who were directly involved. I just knew of the town and the outpouring of love that Chardon received in the months following the tragedy. My parents still live in that town, and after visiting a month after the incident, I truly felt the love surrounding Chardon.

One thing that I do with my students at school is share the importance of the many drills we do. I even explain to them why I feel so strongly about the importance of everyone knowing their role during these times. It's hard. My 2nd graders don't ever want to think something like a school shooting would happen at our small town school. They are innocent 7 and 8 year olds. The same age many of the victims would be if the tragedy at Sandy Hook had never taken place.

This brings me to December 14, 2012. I was teaching 5th grade at the time when one of my team teachers shared with me the news. My first thoughts were: this can't be true. I was numb to the information because in my mind, there was no way someone would do such a thing to young elementary children.

I remember driving home from work that day and crying. Crying for the teachers and principal who lost their lives, crying for the children who lost their lives. I was crying for their families that were preparing for funerals rather than for Christmas with their babies.

 I did not know any of the victims but somehow I found myself so connected to them. My eyes were glued to the T.V. throughout that weekend and I had a bit of a paradigm shift. I began thinking not only of the families who lost their loved ones, I thought about the children that would one day return to school who would fear for their life every day upon entering. I thought about the families of the students that had survived. How does one explain this tragedy to a 6 year old, or even a 10 year old? I thought about the paramedics, police officers, and fire fighters who found the many victims. How would these images ever erase from their minds? I thought about the teachers who would spend their days grieving with the students, while still trying to comfort everyone too. I thought about the many heroes whose legacy will forever live on.

Now, a year later, I still think about these people often. I think about how they are all fighters- not in violence, but in love. The Newtown, Connecticut community has asked for people to remember this tragedy by committing random acts of kindness on it's one year anniversary.

So please, take some time out of your busy schedule to remember the many fighters in love. Remember to commit a random act of kindness, and remember to spread the word. Can you imagine what we can accomplish?

As educators, we remember and honor our fallen colleagues and their students from Sandy Hook School.  We honor them each day in our classrooms in which we continue their dream of teaching our children.  We honor their memory with our service.  Join with teachers everywhere in committing random acts of kindness to show our love for Sandy Hook.

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