OPINION | Barry Richard: Terrorizing Five-Year-Olds in Somerville
Wanna scare the bejesus out of a bunch of little kids? Tell them they might die before recess in their kindergarten class today. That'll do it.
A kindergarten teacher at the Arthur D. Healy Elementary School in Somerville, Massachusetts has posted a nursery rhyme on the blackboard that instructs these fresh-from-Pampers rugrats how to respond should a shooter enter the building.
The photo of the note containing the cute little ditty, to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," was posted on Twitter this week by Georgy Cohen, who also tweeted her objection to the message:
Somerville Superintendent Mary Skipper tells NBC10 Boston the rhyme is appropriate:
"As parents, as educators, we're trying to hold onto that innocence as long as we can, but the world keeps tearing it from us. This is a teacher that, you know, was really trying in a very creative way to just help students reduce anxiety when they hear about or they fear a word."
I won't speculate on the still-unidentified teacher's motives in posting the rhyme, and whether or not it might be political in nature, but I question the need to terrorize little five-year-old kids into thinking they might get shot while tackling their phonics lesson.
This is not the first time school kids have been put through the ringer like this. Anyone my age or older can certainly recall hiding under their desk or in the fallout shelter as protection from any nuclear missiles Nikita Khrushchev might decide to rain down upon us.
Scaring kids is sometimes necessary, but in the case of the Healy Elementary School rhyme, I think it is overkill.
All districts should give serious consideration to arming teachers and providing greater security for all of their schools. That's the best way to address the problem of school shootings.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.