Today I was dropping off my son at his daycare, which is also a school. I was approached by the school owner, who asked if I would deliver a Girls Fight Back presentation to his staff in September. Without even knowing my schedule, I said yes – which I never do without checking with our Program Director first. But in that moment, I knew I was being asked to give the most important and most valuable opportunity in the world. More critical than any engagement addressing the UN, or an ivy league commencement…and here’s why.
If you really needed another reason to love teachers, it’s because they have a unique opportunity to predict and prevent violence in schools. In cases like Coach Dave Sanders as a dramatic example, (Dave was the only teacher who died in the Columbine shootings in April 1999) they are willing to go to tremendous extremes for the sake of our nation’s kids. Far before events like Columbine occur, teachers may see clues that something is amiss. They interact with parents, with students and with other staff. They are observers of the environment of which our children learn in. They are the keepers of the place where our kids spend many of their days, and therefore have the opportunity to listen to some incredibly powerful intuitive messages that maybe, just maybe, something’s not right.
Then they have the opportunity to act. Maybe it’s to confront someone or simply speak up and tell a superior who can intervene. This is the new heroism, and I believe our teachers are up for the challenge.
While not every parent can offer teaching a self-defense workshop like I can, there is something else you can do. Consider buying your child’s teacher – or even better, the entire staff of the school – a copy of Gavin de Becker’s book: Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe.
We can’t save everyone from violence, not even our own children – as painful and unbearable as that thought may be. But you are not powerless! All of us can provide people the tools that just might help them save themselves….or someone else…from violence someday. Gavin’s book is a great example of that.
Here’s wishing you and your children a fun-filled year of learning and growing in a most peaceful setting.