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Editorial: Back-to-school different in an active-shooter world

September 7, 2018

The buses are about to roll. The No. 2 pencils are being sharpened. The moaning whine of “five more minutes!” will soon ring through homes as parents desperately try to get kids ready for school in time to still get to work.

But back-to-school means back to something else, too.

It’s been months since a school shooting. It has not, however, been months since preparation for another school shooting.

For police, for EMTs, for first responders of all kinds, training for absolutely the last call they ever want to hear has become commonplace. School hallways are places for junior high romance and sophomore melodrama, but people who are dispatched to emergencies are learning to negotiate the would-be dangers the same way they would a dark alley or a war zone.

Teachers, administrators and office staff at school districts have transcended managing fire drills and now learn how to handle and direct the active shooter drill. They don’t just show kids how to handle the unlikely event of a fire. They instruct on the very real danger of becoming Newtown or Parkland or Columbine.

There is one group that doesn’t get trained. No one tells the parents how to handle a world where kids die at school.

No, this isn’t about guns. No, this isn’t about whatever the opposite of a gun argument would be.

While we are getting our kids ready to go back to school, let’s get ready ourselves. Let’s be vigilant about our children and their friends, and let’s be aware of the kids in class who need help and what we can do to get them that help.

Political arguments about what can or can’t be done to help have their place, but we cannot sit back and wait for a perfect world when the bus is already on the way. The kids have to go to school, and the world isn’t perfect yet, so let’s all do what we can, together or on our own, to give them the very least that they deserve.

A world where they come home safe on that bus, too.

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