Preparing For Appropriate Response
What to do if the fire alarm goes off at school? This drill is a must in each and every school in the US once a year. Following a set of rules, the pupils walk outside the school with their teachers through certain stairs and doors. However, there is another essential drill for American schoolchildren, termed ALICE, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate. ALICE is basically a rehearsal of what to do to save the lives of the students, if a shooter enters the school.
During one such exercise, an eighth-grade student of a school calmly asked his teacher whether he could jump out of a two-story window, instead of hiding under a desk. Many more in the class also raised their hands, as all of them had the same question to ask. The teacher realised their mental condition; however, she had no immediate answer to that. The teacher knew that she would not have that much of time to get all her students out of the classroom through a window.
The Republican and Democrat senators recently decided to restrict Firearms Law in the US, in order to save people, especially the children. However, the proposed move has failed to bring hope among teachers, as well as the parents. As per data, there have been at least 948 school shootouts in the US in the last decade since 14 children were killed in a classroom shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012. It is not possible for teachers to resist firing from assault rifles. After each violent incident, protests have rocked the entire nation in the recent past.
One may recall that the students launched a movement after the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida in 2018 after a gunman killed 17 of their friends and teachers at school, and changed the course of their lives. They led a historic march for gun control, what they called a March for Our Lives. The movement spread throughout the US. Protests erupted again in various provinces after 19 students and two teachers were killed on May 24, 2022 in a gruesome shooting at a rural elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. A young girl was heard saying in this connection: “Why we have to think every day while going to school that someone can enter the school with an assault rifle at any moment? Why do we have to think that maybe we cannot return home today? Why do our parents suffer from anxiety?”
Schools are considered as centres for the holistic development, learning, physical activities, and social awareness of children in the US, like other countries. It is the own place of everyone, abled or specially-abled children. The school environment should be peaceful and normal. The Western Media have reported that Poland recently accommodated large numbers of Ukrainian refugees. Nearly 75,000 Ukrainian students have started attending Polish schools after the Russian invasion of their country. A school in the Polish capital of Warsaw has specially accommodated children fleeing war-torn Ukrainian cities, including Mariupol. These children are in a state of deep emotional turmoil or trauma. The Polish authorities have set up this school in less than a month especially for the Ukrainian children, and also appointed teachers from among the refugees.
The Deputy Director of the school has stressed: “As if there is no feeling in them when the little ones come and sit in the classroom. Their eyes look empty. However, we try to behave normally.” Other schools in Poland are also trying to admit Ukrainian children. Some schools have allowed the Polish children to use cell phones so that they could communicate with their Ukrainian counterparts with the help of Google Translator.
The image of a small school desk in front of a church, remembering the 19 departed souls of Uvalde school, has gone viral. On the other hand, all the desks at a school in Warsaw have been painted blue and yellow so that the Ukrainian children could feel the touch and tenderness of their motherland.
May the colour of love give shelter to the pupils in all the countries, including the US.
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