Robb Elementary School Reflections

The following remarks were delivered to The Upper School Community during Morning Meeting on May 25, 2022:

Like many of you, I learned of the devastating news out of Uvalde, Texas, yesterday afternoon (5/24), where a man walked into Robb Elementary School and opened fire. The first report I saw said that 12 people were injured, and I remember almost feeling a sense of relief that there were no deaths. Then as I checked the news over the course of the evening, the numbers changed from 12 injured to 3 people killed…9…12…14…18…19 people reported killed by the time I went to sleep, only to wake up and learn that 19 elementary children and 2 adults were killed. 

 Last night, as I sat down to think about what I might say to you this morning, I was at a complete loss. I have to be honest, I kept saying to myself, I can’t believe I have to do this again. I can’t believe I need to stand up in front of the students and talk about another needless tragedy.  

I have no new profound words to share or advice. All I could think of doing was to share how I am feeling. I’m feeling: 

Anger: I am angry that this continues to happen with no action to address the issues that lead to this type of violence. I am angry that I am here talking to you about this senseless violence again and that nothing has changed. 

Sad: I am sad about the horrible loss of life. The children whose futures will never be known. The world will never know what was lost yesterday. We will never know what the ways these young people would have made a positive impact on our world. 

Frustration: I’m frustrated with myself that the regularity of these incidents has begun to make me numb to the news, that I could so easily move on. I’m frustrated that just 9 days ago, Mrs. Guild stood here in front of you talking about what happened in Buffalo. 

Powerless: I feel powerless to make a difference. I feel like regardless of what I say or do, or what others say or do, nothing will change.  

I wish that I had some words of wisdom to give you today. Instead of advice, I hope that sharing some of my feelings will help you make sense of your own feelings. I hope that whether you have any of these feelings or any others, you know that you are not alone. Your friends and teachers are processing their feelings about this in their own way.  

As we have done in the past, if you need someone to talk to this morning or at any time this week, you can always speak with Ms. Luckett, Ms. Escobar, Mr. Murray, your advisor, me, or another trusted adult. Ms. Escobar and Ms. Luckett will be in the Dining Commons during the first two periods of the day for anyone that may want to stop by and talk with them. They also will be available in their offices as they usually are during the day. 

I also want to remind you that we are safe here at Brimmer and Mrs. Guild talked to you about this last week. For the past year, we have been keeping doors propped open to improve airflow, but Mrs. Guild has asked teachers and staff to keep doors closed for the remainder of the year. This is not because there is any specific danger, but to use the precautions we have to keep everyone in the community as safe as possible. 

Author: jneudel

father, food allergy advocate, soccer enthusiast, educational innovator helping to maximize collaborative learning in schools. Upper School Head at Brimmer and May School

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