Emirates Education Platform

Margaret Mia


Another American Night | Inside Higher Ed

Yesterday morning I awoke to a cascade of 40 text messages that had arrived overnight. Most of them were University of Virginia alerts. In reading through them, I realized that there had been a mass shooting there and that students were asked to shelter in place. At that point, the suspect was still at large.

We heard from The Boy in the morning. He was in his apartment near campus. He used a scanner app through the night to hear police communications; while listening, he heard the name of his street.

Eventually the suspect was captured, and we learned that students Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry had been shot and killed and two others shot and wounded.

Later yesterday morning, we heard about the mass shooting at the University of Idaho in Boise. Four students—Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Kaylee GonCalves—were shot and killed.

My condolences to the Chandler, Davis, Perry, Chapin, Mogen, Kernodle and GonCalves families.

I would say that I can’t even imagine, but I can. I spent much of the morning imagining. Something about hearing that there’s been a mass shooting at your kid’s school tends to do that. That’s especially true when the killer hasn’t been caught yet.

It’s a message no parent wants to hear. Far too many hear it, some more than once.

In the UVA case, the students who were killed were football players. We may have seen some of them play when we were down there just over a week ago.

TB is an EMT, among other things. When the lockdown was lifted, he volunteered to drive anyone who needed a ride to Harris Teeter, a local supermarket. As he explained, some people have prescribed medications that they have to take with food; if they didn’t have access to food, that would be a problem. Nobody took him up on it, but I was proud of him for offering. I was glad that he was in his apartment when the shelter-in-place order came down, as opposed to, say, the library. Some students weren’t as lucky.

TB had his first active shooter drill when he was 5. He was in kindergarten. The kids were told to gather in a corner where they couldn’t be seen from outside. Kids in hallways were told to just duck into the nearest classroom, even if it wasn’t theirs. Teachers were told to put signs in the windows to alert police as to how many children were in the room. He told us about it when he got home.

The worst we ever had at that age was fire drills.

Massacres continued: Virginia Tech, Umpqua Community College, Sandy Hook. Colleges developed behavioral intervention teams, ran shelter-in-place drills and focused more intentionally on mental health. But easy gun sales continued.

The Girl led her first political protest—a school walkout—when she was in the eighth grade. It was right after the Parkland shootings, when students around the country protested the rampant availability of guns. Later we took her and TB to Washington for the March for Our Lives, which was the single largest and most dignified protest I’ve attended. They organized sign-making parties with their friends beforehand. Yet the massacres continued. This year we had Tops supermarket in Buffalo, which the killer chose specifically because it was in a mostly Black neighborhood. We had the unbelievable law enforcement failure of Uvalde, which should put to rest forever the “good guy with a gun” myth. This week we’ve already had the Universities of Virginia and Idaho, and it’s only Tuesday.

This doesn’t happen in other countries. I’m old enough to remember when it didn’t happen here. It doesn’t have to. We could make another, better choice.

You don’t want to wake up to 40 texts about a mass shooting at your kid’s school. You don’t want to hear that your kid was up most of the night listening to police report sightings of a killer on his street. And heaven knows you don’t want to get an urgent call from a college president whose voice is breaking.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

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New Suit Against Florida’s Stop WOKE Act | Inside Higher
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