Please Don’t Kill My Children

As originally published on EduMom on February 15, 2018

Classrooms full of children are being executed on a near-daily basis in schools across the United States and we don’t care.

I know that sentence is making you really uncomfortable right now, but isn’t it just time to own it?

Sure, you feel like it’s incredibly unfair and mean — but you know what else is unfair and mean?

Kids being shot to death in their classrooms.

And make no mistake. We are doing nothing.

We are:

  • Wringing our hands.
  • Shedding crocodile tears.
  • Thinking.
  • Praying.
  • Feeling bad.
  • Buying flowers.
  • Expressing sorrow.
  • Expressing regret.
  • Writing stuff on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Burying our children.
  • Wearing ribbons.
  • Putting out statements.
  • Making speeches.
  • Allowing our politicians to get away with making excuses.

But we’re not doing anything tangible to stop the epidemic of gun violence that is happening in our schools and our communities.

Nothing at all.

Here’s a picture of me from five years ago, February 22, 2013, leading the first-in-the-nation anti-gun violence rally on the steps of the statehouse in Massachusetts that I organized with John Rosenthal from Stop Handgun Violence and State Senator Sonia Chang Diaz. This was immediately after A CLASSROOM FULL OF FIRST GRADERS WAS EXECUTED BY A PERSON WITH AN AR-15.

(You know that whole “Moms Demand Action” thing? EduMom was literally one of the first Moms.)

And here we are five years later. Nothing but bullshit.

This morning I put up a simple Facebook post about my own child that read:

I had one well-meaning elected official provide me a link to “tip sheets” on how to help me talk to my child about violence from the National Association of School Psychologists.

What’s their advice?

Reassure children that they are safe.

Why would I do that exactly?

Our children are terrified. They have every damn reason to be afraid. They are not safe. THERE ARE RANDOM CLASSROOMS FULL OF CHILDREN BEEN EXECUTED IN OUR COUNTRY.

Why would I lie to my child that everything is ok and that they are safe?

Maybe instead, I should spend more time teaching my child to play dead or take attempt to avoid taking a bullet directly to a major organ using evasive maneuvers.  (Is that a thing? Send links to: [email protected])

At this point, I want them to hit the floor every time there is an unexpected bang in the hallway.

And stay there until and adult has checked that everything is clear.

Keri — you’re being soooooooo dramatic.

But am I? Am I really?

I can’t trust my elected officials to take the steps needed to keep my kids safe.

We can’t legislate behavior. But we can sure as hell legislate guns.

I literally don’t know what else to say to you people. I hope this blog offends you, pisses you off and you actually go do something.

Please don’t wait until my child — or yours — gets shot in the face while sitting in a classroom.

 

 

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Keri Rodrigues

Keri Rodrigues Lorenzo is Matthew, Miles and David’s mom—an awesome family that lives in Somerville, Massachusetts. She is founder and Mom-in-Chief at Massachusetts Parents United, a parent advocacy group bringing together thousands of parents across the Commonwealth to fight for safer neighborhoods, stable and secure homes and high quality education for every child.

Keri began her career as an award-winning journalist and radio broadcaster, recognized for her political reporting both nationally and internationally and host of a popular daily political talk show and newspaper column in Southeastern Massachusetts. She then continued her career in advocacy as a long-time labor activist, communicator and organizer with the world’s largest local labor union, 1199SEIU, taking on major campaigns across the country. After facing struggles navigating the education system with her own children, she then turned her focus to education reform to help families across the Commonwealth to find their voice at the table and to put kids back at the center of the conversation about education.

Keri currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Massachusetts Democratic Party and the advisory board of Democrats for Education Reform. She has also worked as a senior advisor on dozens of Massachusetts nonprofit, ballot-issue and political organizing campaigns, and serves as a Justice of the Peace for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

A Secular Franciscan, she also devotes much of her free time to volunteer work at Saint Anthony’s Shrine in Boston where you can catch her serving at the [7:30] a.m. mass on Sunday mornings.

Keri Rodrigues

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