By Eden Ovadia
Just a few days ago, my friends and I discussed a school shooting that occurred that very morning. Our teacher came up to us to reprimand us for talking and asked us why we were not focusing. When we told her that ten people had died in a high school just like ours across the country, she simply said “ok” and walked back to the board to continue reviewing for the class final.
Almost every day as the bell rings for second period most students are already at their desks. They are rowdy and often discussing trivial matters. However, on a day following a school shooting, a natural disaster, or even an attack on the nation, the announcements, in the background of most of these conversations, hold a moment of silence, an explanation of the disaster, and a mention of support from the staff. Moments after the announcements conclude, the teachers begin their lessons.
Hundreds of people could be dead, thousands of people could be grieving, but life at our school continues because students have a primary goal of learning, which for most students goes simply toward maintaining a strong GPA so they are able to get into the best college they can, rather than for true learning.
But as this pattern becomes more prominent over time we begin to ask ourselves; are schools neglecting their students’ emotions? Is completing the necessary curriculum in a class for the day more important than teaching a student about what he or she can do in these times of tragedy?
At our school, there has been an effort to show support for student activism and respect for those who died during the Parkland Shooting. This was shown through the students organization of an entire day of events for people to learn about mental health and voice their opinions on school safety and gun control.
This event was great for our student population as it showed a school that supports their students full heartedly, giving them incredible opportunities. Well it was great, on camera at least. Off camera, most teachers continued class normally and ignored the tragedy almost entirely.
It is understandable, that these teachers have a job to teach the students the necessary curriculum for the class and keep students focused on the material. However, why can’t it be part of a teacher’s curriculum to discuss issues occurring currently in the world?
Schools, especially this one, need to support their students every single day of the school year, which includes giving them more of a space to discuss the world they will shortly join as adults. This needs to happen not only on camera, not only following a tragedy, but often.