First there was the shooting in Las Vegas, which I couldn't bear to follow on the news after the first day or two. I'm not normally one to get overly emotional about such things (other than being horrified and sickened by the frequency of deadly gun violence in this country) but for some reason every time I tried to watch or read about what happened I got choked up and had to fight back tears. So many lives lost, so many lives forever changed, so much heartache...for what? Nothing. Nothing but a mentally ill person with access to weapons made for mass killing, that no private citizen should be able to buy. I'm not anti-gun. My husband and I own a couple of handguns for personal protection, and although we don't hunt I certainly don't think there's anything wrong with hunting rifles used for sport. The kind of weapons I do have a problem with are military assault types that no one outside of the military have any business with. I also have a problem with how easy it is to buy guns (any kind of guns) in this country and how our culture glorifies violence.
On a related note, a student at the school where I work made a video of himself brandishing a pistol and sent it via social media to another student to threaten him. We have a school resource officer (an armed policeman) that is stationed at our school and he was involved in the conferences held with the administrators and the parents. The boy got suspended and will soon be on his way to alternative school, but that just goes to show how easily even middle school kids can get their hands on a gun. Which is why the middle schools and high schools around here have to have armed police officers on staff these days. That would have been unthinkable when I was growing up. Also this week: in a primary school 10 miles down the road from us, a first grader (!) brought a loaded gun to school. It was all over the local news. The child was 6 years old! Unbelievable.
Putting aside the crazy gun news, we had a sad event at my school this week. A little girl from the PMD (profoundly mentally disabled) class passed away Sunday night. Last Thursday she started running a high fever, no one knew why, and had to be admitted to the hospital. By Friday she was on life support, and her teacher and the principal went up to the hospital to see her and her mom. Sunday night she was gone. Monday morning the principal broke the news to the school in the morning announcements. It was a sad day. The class teacher is a sweet young woman just out of college who arrived exhausted at work Monday after being at the hospital most of the night. The kids in the other special needs classes took the news especially hard, as did their parents. My heart ached for everyone, and I was embarrassed to find myself brimming with tears more than once throughout the day.
I'm proud to say the entire school staff has rallied around this child's family. The teacher suggested that since the mom is a poor single mother barely getting by that we have a collection to buy her gift cards to a grocery store, Walmart, etc. A very generous sum of money was raised--pretty much all of the teachers, administrators, office staff, etc gave whatever they could afford. The little girl's mom called at some point and asked if it would be possible to hold the funeral service at the school. The principal got permission from the superintendent and was able to say yes. The custodians will go in early tomorrow and turn on the air conditioners, and set up chairs in the gym, and the band teacher has already set up a microphone and sound system.....it will be nice, and will also save the mom the expense of paying a funeral home to have it there. There have been sympathy cards signed, pictures of the child at school framed for presenting to the mother, and just so much care and concern for this lost student. It makes me happy and proud to work in a place where everyone, staff and students and parents alike, are treated like a big extended family.
Speaking of children and school, I met with Kay's guidance counselor Tuesday morning. She's doing well this year; I was pleasantly surprised to learn that her grades are decent (B's and C's), she's had zero behavior issues, and her attendance is good. The only complaint the counselor had was that the foster mother hasn't responded to requests to have career planning meetings for Kay. Since I'm her court-appointed guardian, I offered to step up and do it, and the counselor agreed.
Remember when I said I wasn't going to take a second GAL assignment right now? The program director emailed me yesterday to ask me to reconsider. There's a young girl living in a group home here in Florence that needs a guardian, and there's a court hearing coming up in early November for her. Suzanne, the director, said she'd totally understand if I turn it down...but my inclination is to say yes. (I told her I'd give her an answer Monday). Kay is turning out to be an easier case than I expected, and as long as she continues to do well I'm only expected to check in with her once or twice a month. There's time in my schedule, and Suzanne (who's becoming a personal friend of mine) wouldn't ask if she wasn't in real need of help. We'll see.
It's been a loooooong week, friends. I'm looking forward to spending some time today and tomorrow catching up with your blogs! It's a cool, foggy, and overcast October morning here...really nice. The heat has been slow to leave this year but today finally feels like fall. I'll wrap up this post with some photos of the full Harvest Moon I took last night while out walking the dogs.
Have a good weekend, everyone.