I was so saddened by the mass shooting which occurred at Oxford High School in Oxford Township, Michigan, on November 30, 2021. Four students were killed and seven people were injured, including a teacher. After my original shock, the questions that crossed my mind were why schools and why are the shooters usually boys?
Elementary schools are usually smaller, warm, and caring places. They are typically neighborhood schools with many local teachers, where everyone knows everyone else. The PTA meetings are full of interested parents who are supportive of the school. The parents know the teachers love their children almost as much as they do and are very generous at the holidays as a way of saying thank you for what you do.
Then when the children become of early adolescent age with all of the angst and drama that that age brings, what do we do, we put all of the neighborhood schools into one large middle school and then high school. We put all these young people together as they experience many changes, changes as they transition from childhood into young adulthood. These changes include physical, behavioral, cognitive, and emotional-social development. We put them all together when they need personal attention, an adult who cares about them and serves as a role model. This does not make sense to me. I believe that middle school is when they need a smaller environment with close adult relationships. So some of the students get lost in the crowd, boys especially.
By the numbers since January 2000 (Columbine shooting was in April of 1999):
- approximately 317 school shootings
- an average of one school shooting every 24 days
- approximately 312 dead
- approximately 580 injured
Too many males don’t know how to cry. They don’t know how to express their feelings. They don’t know how to say I’m sorry! “All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong and repairs the evil.” Sophocles.
Schools are tough places. Students tease each other, call each other mean names, make fun of each other, and laugh at each other. This goes on and on and the pecking order is decided, the ins and the outs. Girls handle this differently than boys. Whereas girls tend to express their emotions, yell, scream, and cry. Boys have been taught to be the strong silent type, like John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and James Bond. As Psychology Today states, “…consider that some of our most destructive societal problems—like wars, homicide, and other violent crime—result from extreme cases of male aggression and hyper-competitiveness.”
Where are the stoic and emotionally bottled-up boys, schools! Who explodes having had enough, boys. So parents and teachers, take care of all of your students, care for them, ask if they are OK, just listen to them, but especially the boys. Let’s head this off, NOW! The gun access is another topic altogether. Love your children/students and listen to them cry out before they get a gun.