Sandy Hook Elementary, Newtown, Connecticut.

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I haven’t written a blog about what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday, December 14, 2012 for a couple of reasons.Sandy Hook Elementary.

First, my life at school has been busy.  Extremely busy.

I’m always swamped this time of year, but this tragedy made things even busier (I’m not complaining).

Parents, students, and staff were more shaken about this event than anything I’ve ever experienced.

During Columbine, I was a snot-nosed young teacher, so I’m sure I didn’t realize the impact it had on my administrators and school at the time.

Secondly and most importantly, an event like this doesn’t lend itself to snarky sarcastic blog writing (this is my go to move).

So, I’ve taken some time off from blogging.

And I’m glad I did.

I think the most important thing we can do at times like this is be reflective.

The best reaction is not to overreact.  This can be hard to do when everyone around you wants you to "Do something!"

In the face of tragedy, we all want to immediately implement rules or procedures to fix our own situation.

And often times, that’s the worst thing we can do.

Time will give us many of the answers we are searching for.

Lessons will be learned from what happened in Connecticut.

Schools will become safer.  Politicians will eventually do the right thing (I hope).  Administrators and teachers will be better trained.

Students who are already safe will be even safer in the future.

These things will take time, but they will happen.

This of course, will never fix what happened, but we have to understand we can’t fix it.

We can only make things better from this point forward.

This can sound cold and uncaring, but it’s not.  It is why I didn’t write a blog the next day.

As a side note… Why does the news media put children and families who were directly involved in a tragedy on TV, but won’t show a drunk fan who runs on the field during a professional baseball or football game because they don’t want to "glorify" their actions?

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8 Responses to “Sandy Hook Elementary, Newtown, Connecticut.”


  1. SDCA Principal
    on Dec 26th, 2012
    @ 10:39 am

    Your blog post really speaks to me. The knee jerk reactions and over zealousness about arming administrators and teachers truly scares me and other principals. Your message was sympathetic, empathetic–and most of all,
    truthful.

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @SDCA Principal, I hope so. I certainly don’t want to offend anyone, especially on a silly blog about such an important story.


  2. Karen Marcus
    on Dec 26th, 2012
    @ 11:06 am

    Your directness is greatly appreciated.


  3. wozza
    on Dec 26th, 2012
    @ 5:56 pm

    I remember going to hear some students who had survived Columbine (they were visiting NZ and engaged in a kind of speaking tour at church venues). Very very sobering experience!!

    Guns kill people (I can’t imagine living in a place that contains a twisted organisation like the knee jerk NRA). I feel safe in China, I felt safe in the Middle East, the UK, NZ. But America?

    You’re doing a difficult job in a difficult place. I feel for you.

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @wozza, It’s sad. And thank you.


  4. Alleta Baltes
    on Dec 27th, 2012
    @ 10:28 am

    Having been a principal for 20 years, words can’t express how saddened I was by this event. Look up May 18, 1927 – Bath Township, Michigan, Bath school bombing disaster. Cokeville, Wyoming, May 16, 1986 – why didn’t it make national news? Because the hostages all escaped.
    School safety and tragedy is not a new problem. After Columbine, we all worried about a “copy cat”. Students did really stupid stuff – wearing trenchcoats and talk – and were suspended. It was a very long year as an administrator.
    A very sad day indeed – 12/14/12.
    Already as an administrator I know of 3 days of FEMA training we will be attending. I just hope our schools aren’t made into prisons. In England, where there are no guns, the worry in 1981 when I lived there was the IRA and bombings and car bombs.
    I think principals have a different skill set than police officers. Will we all be required to pass the physical exams and carry? Shooting practice weekly fit into busy schedules? Who will want to be an administrator then? How far will this go?
    How do we create peace on earth? Prayer. Praying for all of our safety in public schools across the country.


  5. Shane Gordon
    on Dec 27th, 2012
    @ 10:37 am

    That is an excellent point about the media with drunks at ball games. Societal priorities aren’t always the best.


  6. Laura Conley (@lconley86)
    on Dec 27th, 2012
    @ 9:05 pm

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts out loud. Much appreciated and certainly right on target as far as I am concerned.

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