I have child that attends Rootstown Middle School and was shocked and saddened to learn that there was very little discussion surrounding the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. According to my daughter, the principal made a short announcement over the loudspeaker during homeroom assuring the students of their safety. That was it.
Rootstown leadership had an opportunity to be great Monday and instead fell flat on their faces. In her social studies class, my daughter has a current event due every two weeks, yet this horrific tragedy was not even mentioned in that class. How is this possible? What could be more current or impactful in the lives of these young students than the despicable acts that robbed an entire nation of precious innocents? There is a Sheriff's Department office across the street from her school; how difficult would it have been to have a deputy's car parked outside the school, to help reassure our children that they truly are safe?
I wanted to witness the lack of leadership myself and decided to attend the school board meeting Monday night. To my dismay, the topic was only brought up by the superintendent midway through the meeting, saying that our hearts go out to the family's and friends impacted by the Sandy Hook tragedy. There was no discussion about school safety, any changes in the near future, the fact that my daughter's homeroom class has no locking doors, no talk about encouraging our children to reach out to a teacher, principal or counselor with any questions. Nothing.
Rootstown educators, Monday was your opportunity to be great and you failed. You let me, my child and a community down. This is not a gun control issue, a political issue or even a mental health issue; this is a humanitarian issue.
I believe most parents probably spoke to their children in the aftermath of last Friday's events, but it takes more than that, especially with today's social media outlets. It takes a village to raise a child and we need to do everything in our power to prevent these types of tragedies from happening in the future.
We need to expect better of our community leaders, our educators and most of all of ourselves.
Eric Kokochak, Rootstown