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Teachers need support and recognition

The Lakeville Journal Co. Editorial

While many professions have had unique challenges during the pandemic, teaching is one that all of us should pay close attention to now. It has become harder and harder to recruit new people to teach (though Region One has been fortunate to find many new teachers for the 2022-23 school year).

Why? There is more intense opportunity to acquire illness in the Petri dish of schools, with so many children of all ages as well as adults bringing in viruses and passing them among one another. This year has been particularly challenging with the flu, RSV and COVID all floating around us, as well as what we used to call the common cold, which seems so quaint now.

That is tough for teachers, not only because they themselves are exposed, but because their students disappear from class at any time for more extended periods of time than was usual before COVID took over human society.

Another aspect of challenges for teachers: The danger of school shootings has changed the way American schools operate since the attack at Columbine High School in 1999. The activity of running regular active shooter drills alone in all classrooms, from preschool on up, has dramatically changed the way students and their educators experience their school days and their lives.

There’s no easy way to solve this, but as those in authority try to find ways, it could help if we are all aware and offer gratitude and support to the educators we know. Their goal is to teach our children how to best handle their lives, gathering tools to face whatever obstacles arise as they try to achieve their goals. The least we all can do is try to understand teachers’ challenges and recognize their successes with their students every day.

While Kent was considering having a state trooper in its elementary school, the voters in town decided that was not the best route to take to keep the school safe and support educators and students. And many teachers say they themselves would not want to be armed in school,  that it wasn’t what they trained for in preparing to be educators. So again, the answers aren’t simple.

But in the aftermath of the 10-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre of 20 six- and seven-year-olds and six adults in Newtown, it should now be time for the government to ban assault weapons. Both our Connecticut senators are active in trying to get that legislation passed, and the president is supportive. It would have made a big difference in many of the most lethal mass shootings if the weapons used hadn’t been rapid fire and high volume in rounds released.

If the message is it’s just too late, there are too many weapons out there already, we may as well call our society a loss.

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