We sent our kids to school today, with trepidation

My wife and I considered keeping our three young daughters home from school Wednesday, but we didn’t.

Maybe that was the right thing to do. Maybe not.

Our stomachs still turned from Tuesday’s news. Another school shooting. More people dead, mostly young children this time. More families devastated.

It was an elementary school, we learned. Maybe that makes it feel worse. Or maybe it just hits harder for us because three of our four daughters go to an elementary school.

With our kids still in class, we watched reported death tolls climb hour by hour. First, two. Then 14 children and two adults. Then 19 children and two adults.

Students killed were mainly third- and fourth-graders, ABC News reported.

We have a fourth-grader.

“Is there a war in Texas?” she asked as my wife and I followed the news into the night, trying not to divulge the sickening details. Our perplexed glances at one another must have confused them.

“No,” I answered, and left it at that.

Maybe that was the right thing to say. Maybe not. I didn’t give her a straight answer because I didn’t know how to at the moment.

I read about families devastated by the news of losing a child — at school, where kids are supposed to learn and play.

Yeah, but chances of this happening where we live are still so low, I told myself.

Aren’t they?

I was there last year after a student fired multiple rounds at a Rigby Middle School, not far from our home in East Idaho. Fortunately, no one died, but two students and a janitor were injured.

The heavy details stuck with me: the long row of jammed vehicles outside the school, where bewildered parents rushed to pick up their children; children searching for parents; frightened families embracing in the parking lot; a dad who had to be restrained after rushing past me and bursting through a yellow police line, looking for his daughter.

She was safe inside the school, an officer assured him.

For something so unlikely to strike at home, it all felt eerily close.

Tuesday’s shooting in Uvalde, Texas, was 1,450 miles from our home but also somehow felt eerily close.

We considered addressing Tuesday’s news with our kids, but didn’t. They’re on the home stretch for summer, and our first-grader’s been giving us fits about getting out the door on school days.

Summer break’s around the corner, we told ourselves. We’ll have plenty of time to address it then.

Maybe that’s the right thing to do. Maybe not.

How are you feeling about your child’s safety at school? What should we be doing differently? Email responses to [email protected]

Devin Bodkin

About Devin Bodkin

EdNews assistant editor and reporter Devin Bodkin is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. He lives and works in East Idaho. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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