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Adolescent Fear

Posted on 2009.02.12 at 13:44
I know it's been a while and for the most part I'm having a great year. I love my job and my kids are doing great. Things are tense regarding certain employees, but it's workable. I kept meaning to get back to journaling but I've been so busy with concerts, tours, competitions, etc.

Monday afternoon, just after school was out, one of our 7th graders was shot in the head. Tuesday we made an announcement to students. He died that morning, on his 14th birthday. Wednesday we announced he had died. Obviously it has greatly affected the students. It is suspected to be gang related, but it is difficult to discern truth from rumor. We have had gang threats against us for today and tomorrow. Phone calls, letters, etc. and the cops have been investigating and talking with students. The students are afraid to come to school and so are some of the staff.

The music festivals have been this week and the orchestra was today. While waiting, my students said another school was pretending like they were shooting at them. I alerted the proper persons, but it was still difficult. My students did very well, but you can see it in their eyes that they're tired and scared. They begged me not to take them back to school--not because they didn't want to go to class, but because they didn't want to be shot.

Despite increased security, students still feel unsafe. I told them we weren't going to let anything happen to them. Their response was "what are you going to do if they have a gun miss?" As the counselor said, this is terrorism. I am very ill, but I'm going to school tomorrow to help students feel that they are safe. People have offered to listen, but I don't really know what to say...

Mentally and emotionally I'm too exhausted to think, much less cope with the situation. It's one thing to have a student die tragically...it's completely different if s/he is murdered. I really don't think you can understand what the school is like right now unless you've been through it.

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