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Friday, March 2, 2012

Can It Happen in Rock Hill?

Everyone is trying to find a reason for the events at Chardon High School this week. The media refers to Chardon as a suburb of Cleveland OH, and many folks in South Carolina probably have a different mental image of Chardon than it actually is. For sure, some folks work in the Cleveland area, but suburb really doesn't apply. I was in Chardon twice last year.

Chardon is on the edge of Ohio's Amish country with well kept houses and lush yards and gardens. During the 4th of July, all the street poles had hanging baskets with red, white, and blue flowers. There were American flags on the poles and most of the older homes had American flag colored Bunting across the front. Not only did you feel safe, you felt like this was America.

If this can happen in Chardon, it can happen anywhere. Our thoughts are with the folks in Chardon.

From the Board's Eye View blog: heart goes out to the parents, family, and friends of the victims of the Chardon, Ohio, shooting. And to school personnel at Chardon High School—this is when you earn your angel wings.
Everyone is asking themselves, How can we know?
I know that educators all over the country are now huddling with their school security officers and school counselors and social workers. They are reviewing their building entry and lock-down procedures and reviewing the student suspension files, to look again at the records of children who may have been kicked out of school for carrying a weapon or threatening to harm someone or—or what? Everyone is asking themselves, How can we know?
The answer is that we can’t. But what we might consider trying, as the next few sorrowful days unfold, is resolving to get to know our children, whether we are a parent, friend, or teacher. When we are able to look into the hearts of children, we will, of course, find their angels. But we will also find their demons and must help the child to banish them. That can happen only if we spend time with them. Not long before the terrible tragedy in Chardon I was discussing discipline and classroom management with a teacher in Dayton and she told me, “We don’t have discipline problems, we have feedback problems.” She meant that our first duty to children is to pay attention to them.
Just yesterday, at a meeting of our local school board’s curriculum committee, a special education teacher was trying to explain to a social studies teacher that the road to student motivation runs through the ear.  “Listen to them,” she exhorted. “It is so important to make these individual connections to children. Then they will open up and then you can reach them.”
Our sincere condolences to the children of Chardon.

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