After watching a documentary about school shootings in the United States, on Aljazeera this morning, I feel inspired to put my two cents in.
First of all, my Dad tried to scare me to stop me from going to the US as a 17 year old exchange student, because of school shootings. He used to send me newsclippings. Nonetheless, now 30 years later a couple of months ago, there was a vicious deed in Eslöv, my very old hometown in Sweden. FBI had warned the Swedish police about him after finding disturbing content online, but nothing was done. Which takes us to the heart of the matter. Violence isn't only based on geography. And the Swedish government workers don't do their jobs.
In 2017, I signed up to become a substitute teacher in the Stockholm area, and asked the organization preparing us, if they had an emergency plan. They hadn't. Which is so typical of Sweden, where our culture is to trust in the government. I have never received any help by the Swedish government at all, but for some temporary financial aid that still led to homelessness, and burnout, due to their decisions.
In the United States, the culture is to not trust in the government and trust in yourself. I do love that. The paradox, however is that I have certainly felt like I've been on the receiving end of help from the American government! Maybe the answer, like so often, lies not in the either or, but both.
We need to learn how to solve conflicts. We don't do that by calling the police, we do that by respectfully responding the one contacting you. I do. My mother did. Once she, a High school teacher, was threatened by a student carrying a knife. She made a high kick saying she might know karate, unless he just needed a hug, whereupon she went to sit on top of his lap, kissing him on his cheek.
To not validate another human being is the worst and most cruel behavior, definitely leading to burnout, based on the research made by sociologist Johan Asplund. We need to see each other, hear everyone out and come up with a game plan. Instead of arming teachers, can you not install alarm buttons underneath their desks? How can you ensure the needs are being met for your students? Meet halfway.