Like many others, I'm grieving over the tragic loss of the sixth-grader from Robert Smalls Middle School. What on Earth could've been so bad? How could something like this happen?
Rumors of bullying started to surface and the blame game began, followed by statements like, "They should have stopped it! They could do more!"
Yet I issue a challenge by asking, who is "they"?
"They" is actually "us." If your child is at Robert Smalls, you're "they." The school is only a reflection of what's happening outside of your door. If you live in the area, you are included too. This is our school. We've got to raise our expectations.
Here's how you can help:
* We need mentors. Share your talents with students.
* Be a reading buddy -- sit, listen and read with a student.
* Volunteer -- answer phones; make copies; monitor halls; and supervise restrooms.
* Join the PTO and school improvement council -- bring improvements and ideas to the school.
* Advocate -- attend meetings; know district expectations; help your child meet them; monitor grades in PowerSchool; attend conferences; and help develop solutions.
I am the Robert Smalls you speak of. I've been a student, a teacher and now a literacy coach. That's three different roles, but the same loyalty, pride and commitment. If you want change, don't talk about it; be about it. Do something. If you dare accept the challenge, I'm waiting for you.
Jacqueline E. Lawton