If you consider the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, you will likely think of the fallen heroes who were there that day. The principal, a psychologist and several teachers lost their lives in the course of making split-second decisions to put their own lives at risk in an effort to protect the children. They did not have time to think. They only had two choices: fight or flight.
But, would they make the same choice if they understood the consequences to their own families and their own lives? What if they had a year to think about it before that dreadful day occurred? Would they do something differently? Would the outcome be the same? Would they find a way to get others involved?
Sadly, those who lost their lives will never be able to consider those options or tell us how they might have handled things if they had been given more time. In a fight or flight situation, time is one thing that you do not have.
Sandy Hook Elementary School was a tragedy like nothing we have ever seen. Children so young had their lives taken away from them so quickly. The nation is still mourning their loss. The heroes that day did not have time to form a plan, discuss their options, take a vote or even or gain support from the various communities nearby.
We still have time
But, we do. Our children are in danger, too. Many lives here may also be lost if we do not find a way to become heros and protect our children from harm. We have the one thing that the people of Sandy Hook did not have: time. But, it is running out.
SACS has given us one year to get our school board, administrative office, school houses and supporting groups in order and acting right. We have help and we have each other. But, just like Sandy Hook, the time here will run out. And, where will we be when it does?
Here in DeKalb County, our children are not facing immediate, life-threatening danger in the same way the children faced danger at Sandy Hook. But, make no mistake about it, there are just as many, if not more, little lives that are in danger if we do not find a way to work together to save them.
We cannot afford to sit back and watch
We can spend the next year doing things the same way we have always done them. We can sit back and observe the issues and problems, but not engage others in any serious conversations. We can read about the world going on around us and be thankful that we do not have children in the system right now, or we found a better school than the one our child used to attend. We can watch as the events unfold and shake our heads when we watch our property values fall, our taxes go up, our jobs disappear.
It's time for action!
We can choose to move away and hope that someone else will do something. Or, we can decide that this mess has gone on long enough and today is the day that we need to move out of the passive, armchair quarterback mode of watching and into the hands-on, stepping up, showing up mode of doing something about it now, while there is still time.
What kind of a person are you? If you had to step up in a split-second to protect a child, do you think you would? If so, then what in the world is stopping you from doing that right now? There are thousands of children slipping through the cracks of our faulty, corrupt school system in DeKalb. Their immediate lives may not be in danger, but their quality of life is in grave danger and yet very few people are willing to step up and do something about it.
Perhaps the lack of a deadline or the presence of an immediate threat leaves us without a "call to action." There is not one particular issue that jumps out at us and screams for our involvement and we simply do not know where to begin. Surely someone else is working on it. Surely other people can see what is going on here, right?
Will we stand together, finally, for the children? Or will we sit back and watch as the state takes over, the virtual schools and private companies sweep in and we sit back and watch as another decade slowly slips away right before our very eyes?
The answer is not to split ourselves off into a million different cities or groups, and the answer will not be found through politics. That is what got us into trouble to begin with, right?
The answer lies within us. We are not a county made up of scandals and headlines, are we? We are people who are real. We are people who care about the same things. We have just let the "leaders" in this county lead us right off the deep end. It's time we take back the reigns and stand up for ourselves.
Let's work together to bring back DeKalb for the children. I want our children to grow up together. And I want them to look back on the childhood we gave them and smile.
Nothing should stop us from rising up to meet this challenge. Time is running out. It's time to step up, speak up and come together. I cannot think of anything more worthy of fighting for than to fight for the rights of our children.
The only option that's left, DeKalb: we must unite and fight!