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Why Can’t Legislators React to School Shootings With More Than Our Thoughts and Prayers Are With You?

February 24, 2018

By Ken Magdaleno

I am angry that another school shooting has taken place and many of the politicians and leaders respond only with..."our thoughts and prayers are with you." Children and adults are dying because of inaction pertaining to gun control. I will not repeat what many are saying today, that "we need to do something about these guns that are killing our children" even though it is true. What I would like to do is share from my time as an educational leader who has served at the elementary, middle school, high school and university settings. We must come together, discuss our similarities and differences, and provide action to protect our children.

Have you ever held an elementary school kindergartener in your arms as they struggled to find something good to share about themselves? I have, and it was heartbreaking... so I helped them.

Have you ever struggled to understand what the middle school boy or girl was thinking with their last adolescent action? Oh yeah... they weren't thinking, they were acting their age, so you give them a hug and send them back to class with a reminder to "be respectful..." I loved middle school even though they never got my jokes. Most only wanted to know that I knew their name...

Or, what of the high school students who are between worlds... the world on campus and the world of expectations for what to do with the rest of their life. Yet, they have barely begun to experience what life has in store for them. 

There are times in my higher education career that I missed being around these very fine young people (especially those who needed me most)... until I felt their energy for around five minutes and acknowledged that I could no longer match it. 

There are no words... there is only action remaining. As the young man from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida reminded us, it is time for us to be the adults and to build a world in which we embrace our common humanity while addressing the many obstacles that separate us. Our kids need for us to do so. 

(Dr. Kenneth R. Magdaleno serves as Director of the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership at California State University, Fresno and teaches in both the Masters and Doctoral programs focusing on the areas of School Administration and Cross-Cultural Leadership. Dr. Magdaleno is also the Founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit Center for Leadership, Equity, and Research (CLEAR) whose main purpose is the advancement and sustainability of educational leaders.)

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