Our Broken Hearts Are With Texas
Preston Smith, Co-Founder and CEO, Rocketship Public Schools
As you all know by now, 19 children and two teachers were killed in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas yesterday. It was the deadliest school shooting since 20 children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012.
Mass shootings are heartbreakingly normal in America. There have been 215 mass shootings in our country this year alone. This is the 27th school shooting this year. But this one hits especially close to home. This was an elementary school. A school that serves a student population that is 90% students of color. It is hard not to see the faces of our Rocketeers and our team members when our hearts are breaking for the entire Robb Elementary School community.
While our thoughts and prayers are with the Robb Elementary School community I know that it will take far more than thoughts and prayers to bring an end to this deplorable trend of violence in schools across our country. It has been ten years since the tragedy of Sandy Hook and nothing has changed. As educators and advocates, we need to harness the power of our community and our voice to create change that protects all kids and all schools.
I know yesterday’s tragedy in Texas will trigger traumatic experiences that far too many of our Rocketeer students and staff have endured. It is critical that we continue to care for and support everyone in our community. It is also critical that we continue to build and grow our communities of love, trust, care, and excellence throughout every moment of our Rocketeer’s day. We will dig even deeper into our work using trauma-informed teaching techniques and mental health professionals to support our students.
As educators, we have the unique responsibility of shaping our Rocketeers to be the advocates, activists, and leaders of tomorrow. We are preparing our Rocketeers to harness their power to create the change our communities and country desperately need. And that is what continues to give me hope in navigating deeply disturbing events like this. When I look into the faces of our Rocketeers, I see their power. I see a future world built on empathy, equity, and respect.
But I know the road ahead won’t be easy. Especially this week when educators and families across our nation are grieving the horrific tragedy at Robb Elementary. We are all hurting. Remember that it’s okay to show your emotions to your students – it is a healthy example of how to grieve. And remember to show yourself the same compassion and care that you provide to our Rocketeers every single day.
Stay safe. Spread love. Seek change.
Published on May 25, 2022