Let’s talk about this.
The parents of a child who was in Sandy Hook Elementary School during the recent massacre, who is being called “Jill Doe” for anonymity, have filed suit on behalf of the child who “sustained emotional and psychological trauma and injury, the nature and extent of which are yet too be determined” from hearing gunfire, screaming and cursing over the loudspeaker during the horrifying attack that left 26 children and adults dead.
There is no doubt in my mind that this child is traumatized. As a parent, I cannot imagine anything worse than what those children experienced, and I still cry thinking about the terror the boys and girls lived through. With the knowledge that nearly an entire classroom of children were killed in that school—a place that was supposed to be safe, a place that was supposed to be fun—each child who survived the shooting will most likely be left with lasting trauma.
But this suit, as detailed by MSNBC.com, is being brought against the Board of Education, Department of Education, and the Education Commissioner, because they “had failed to take appropriate steps to protect children from ‘foreseeable harm.’”
As a parent whose children attend a public school, it is hard for me to imagine a school much safer than Sandy Hook reportedly was. For those of you whose kids are in public school, how many of your schools have locked doors with a buzz-in system? I would venture to guess not too many —though many more may start to after this.
My mind reels from the implications of suing the Board of Ed for $100 million. What will that accomplish? What do the parents hope to gain from this (other than money, which is a figure well beyond what their child will need in order to obtain all of the necessary therapy and counseling in her life)? Better evacuation plans? Such as “Mr. Wolf is in the Building“? Teaching your children to run away when a person with assault-style rifles starts shooting at their classmates?
Yes, absolutely every school needs to get more serious about evacuation and safety procedures. That is crucial for all emergencies from tornadoes to bomb threats to earthquakes. But what will really protect our kids when a deranged person is intent upon killing them?
The New Haven-based attorney, Irv Pinsky, said he was approached by the student’s parents soon after the shooting.
“We all know its going to happen again,” Pinsky said on Friday. “Society has to take action.”
Is this how we take action? By suing the Board of Ed? Is it true that, as MSNBC explains, that the school “failed to provide a ‘safe school setting’ or design ‘an effective student safety emergency response plan and protocol.’”
I cannot know what it was like for those children, and I don’t know what Jill Doe’s parents are experiencing right now, but I think we can all agree that yes, something needs to happen. Society has to take action.
But is this the action that will change our world to make our children safer?
Photo: David Goldman/AP