Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Aren't you glad you are homeschooling?

In light of the recent massacre, and the amount of friends who had a particularly hard time letting their kids go back to school on Monday, this idea kept coming up. Aren't you glad that your kids are not in school? Aren't you glad that you do not have to drop them off at a place which seemed safe and, all of a sudden, isn't?

These ideas were peppered with plenty other finger-pointing and blaming. It's the guns. It's the lack of guns in schools. Every teacher should pack heat. Let's station armed guards at every school. It's mental illness. It's the lack of mental institutions. It's the lack of oversight. It's the permissive violent culture. It's the video games and movies. I am probably just scratching the surface here of all the different things which could be the contributing factors. as to why this happened and what needs to be done to prevent future violence.

I am a fatalist, and I do believe there is such thing as evil. There is no protection from it. If a bunch of armed thugs want to break into my house and really harm us, there is very little I would be able to do to defend myself and my kids, guns, krav maga and 911 included. If somebody decides to shoot up random cars (remember DC sniper?), there is no protection. Similarly, if someone plants a bomb, or stabs people, or shoots up a mall, or just decides that we trespassed on his lawn, what can we do?

As a child, growing up in Moldova, I happened to live there during the local civil war when Transnistria tried to secede from Moldova. This was just a short distance away. I remember playing outside with some friends, when down the street rolled an armored vehicle. The top was down, and a young soldier, with his chest puffed up, had a gun pointed right at us, kids, street level. There was no war in town, so he was probably an 18 year old punk, showing off. Pray tell me, what prevented him from pulling a trigger and producing more war casualties? And chances are, you probably never even heard of this teeny civil war.

When I was in Stern College in Manhattan, Sept. 11th happened. We saw the towers, we smelled the smoke, we witnessed the removal of debris from Ground Zero. I was an RA on duty when there was a bomb scare in Empire State Building two days later. One of the dorms was evacuated, the girls ran into the lounge, hysterical. I was told... to serve shabbos party food: nibs, pretzels, candy. The guards were talking about abandoning their posts and running. If there was actually a bomb, what would those nibs do?

Later, we lived in Far Rockaway. Remember the tsunami of 2004? We were in a flood zone, first floor apartment. I just had my oldest. I remember thinking that if there is a tsunami here, we will be licked clean, and I will not make it up the stairs with the baby.

Still later, I taught in Chabad school. The horrible shooting in Mumbai happened. Our school talked about beefing up security, being aware of strangers, and letting the secretary at the front desk decide what to do with visitors. We talked about code red and code yellow and where to evacuate the kids. Preparedness, yes; realism, no, not so much. I cannot fathom evacuating 40 preschoolers and hoisting them over the fence to safety if a terrorist is inside the building...

So ask yourself: realistically, is my child's school any more unsafe than it was before?  And are the safety measures that the schools are bound to undertake to calm jittery parents really making us safe, or are they there to quell our fears and make us feel that we are doing something?

Just in case you are considering homeschooling due to the recent events, I can guide you to an excellent article as to why you shouldn't make a rash decision. Yes, I am glad that we are homeschooling, but not for the reasons of fear.

1 comment:

  1. There is no material security in this world, as much as we may try to tell ourselves there is. We should use wisdom and be prepared, but we cannot be prepared for every contingency and random occurrence. Alexander the Great died of disease at a young age, a fact that to me always seemed to possess great irony. It's a metaphor for the human condition. The only place for the drive for security is in the One Who causes all to come into being. Only His authority is capable of providing security, everything else is conditional and subject to failure.

    Thanks for the good post.

    Rafi Kurlansik