We tend to respond to senseless tragedies by looking for answers. And while, when it comes to school shootings, there are a lot of different opinions out there, one in particular seems to be resonating with people.

Kelly Raley, who was voted Teacher of the Year at a Florida middle school, took to Facebook to share her thoughts after a horrific attack at a Florida high school left 17 dead and many others fighting to survive.

Her post reads:

Okay, I’ll be the bad guy and say what no one else is brave enough to say, but wants to say. I’ll take all the criticism and attacks from everyone because you know what? I’m a TEACHER. I live this life daily. And I wouldn’t do anything else! But I also know daily I could end up in an active shooter situation.

Until we, as a country, are willing to get serious and talk about mental health issues, lack of available care for the mental health issues, lack of discipline in the home, horrendous lack of parental support when the schools are trying to control horrible behavior at school (oh no! Not MY KID. What did YOU do to cause my kid to react that way?), lack of moral values, and yes, I’ll say it-violent video games that take away all sensitivity to ANY compassion for others’ lives, as well as reality TV that makes it commonplace for people to constantly scream up in each others’ faces and not value any other person but themselves, we will have a gun problem in school. Our kids don’t understand the permanency of death anymore!!!

I grew up with guns. Everyone knows that. But you know what? My parents NEVER supported any bad behavior from me. I was terrified of doing something bad at school, as I would have not had a life until I corrected the problem and straightened my ass out. My parents invaded my life. They knew where I was ALL the time. They made me have a curfew. They made me wake them up when I got home. They made me respect their rules. They had full control of their house, and at any time could and would go through every inch of my bedroom, backpack, pockets, anything! Parents: it’s time to STEP UP! Be the parent that actually gives a crap! Be the annoying mom that pries and knows what your kid is doing. STOP being their friend. They have enough “friends” at school. Be their parent. Being the “cool mom” means not a damn thing when either your kid is dead or your kid kills other people because they were allowed to have their space and privacy in YOUR HOME. I’ll say it again. My home was filled with guns growing up. For God’s sake, my daddy was an 82nd Airborne Ranger who lost half his face serving our country. But you know what? I never dreamed of shooting anyone with his guns. I never dreamed of taking one! I was taught respect for human life, compassion, rules, common decency, and most of all, I was taught that until I moved out, my life and bedroom wasn’t mine…it was theirs. And they were going to know what was happening because they loved me and wanted the best for me.

There. Say that I’m a horrible person. I didn’t bring up gun control, and I will refuse to debate it with anyone. This post wasn’t about gun control. This was me, loving the crap out of people and wanting the best for them. This was about my school babies and knowing that God created each one for greatness, and just wanting them to reach their futures. It’s about 20 years ago this year I started my teaching career. Violence was not this bad 20 years ago. Lack of compassion wasn’t this bad 20 years ago. And God knows 20 years ago that I wasn’t afraid daily to call a parent because I KNEW that 9 out of 10 would cuss me out, tell me to go to Hell, call the news on me, call the school board on me, or post all over FaceBook about me because I called to let them know what their child chose to do at school…because they are a NORMAL kid!!!!!

Those 17 lives mattered. When are we going to take our own responsibility seriously?

And while plenty of people respectfully disagreed with her about the cause of school shootings:

I’m a teacher as been one for over 21 years I agree with a lot of what your saying but we need tighter gun laws and tighter school security. Student’s need to have I’d to enter and police need to be assigned to schools. I was teacher in Detroit public schools and that what they do.

Don’t try to blame video games or TV or poor parenting.

My sister’s best friend was killed in Parkland… the killer? An orphan who joined a Nazi hate group. Not much parenting going on there, but the federal agents had received tips that he was planning a shooting for months and did nothing.

In the end, I’d rather have a spoiled brat with a stick, than a spoiled brat with an AR-15.

At the time of this posting, over 500,000 people — many fellow teachers, parents, and administrators — had shared it, making points including these:

I totally agree with you! My parents did the same thing with me and I did it with my kids! I always knew where they were and what they were up to. They were taught respect and they had respect for all people. Parents AE too wrapped up in their technology to pay attention to their children. Too many are afraid to discipline their child for fear they’ll hate them. I just don’t know where this world is headed

AMEN!!! Until parents realize that children yearn for discipline and guidance; and need it from the people who are supposed to love them the most— take control of their cell phones, game boys, and computer accesses: spend real life time with them— yes I do know what I’m saying; I even watched what they watched on TV and we discuss used underlying themes: go to their movies with them— they won’t go? Great! We are not given these precious gifts to be their friends, let them do what they want and just grow up!!! Parents—your children are your first and most important responsibility!! If you don’t want the responsibility don’t pretend you do!!!

I hope this goes viral!! Thank you for your heartfelt message. My wife is a teacher and feels the same way. Yesterday actually a 4th grade kid ran into the cafeteria and pretended to shoot all the lunch ladies and said “ I’m going to kill you all!” That kid was sent home shortly after and he possibly will get suspended. These kids/teenagers are desensitized to violence and it is scary. Anyways thanks for the post.

I agree with you, but will others? The others I’m talking about are CPS, politicians, parents who don’t give a damn! It’s always someone else’s fault that their kids are destructive and not theirs. Maybe if we start punishing the parents as well, things will start to change and then, maybe they won’t. Something does need to be done, though, before we are nothing but a war zone.

Whether you agree or disagree with Raley’s words, one thing is certain: There’s no excuse for the violence in schools today, and hundreds of thousands of Americans are determined to stop it, however that may ultimately be.

About the author

Emily first started working for IJR back in 2013. She's served in capacities ranging from writer to editor to social media manager, and she is now Managing Editor of IJR and Dearly. Emily holds a Master's degree in Business Administration from Rollins College, where she helped launch a social entrepreneurship curriculum. She is passionate about faith, family, travel, food, and making the world a better place.

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