When Scout learns of the verdict in her father’s case, she, like children are wont to do, asks about how it could happen. His response is famous –

They’ve done it before and they did it tonight and they’ll do it again and when they do it – seems that only children weep.

There was a lot of violence in Cleveland over Memorial Day weekend. And as much as I try to avoid reading about it, I also look to see if there are the names of any of our students. Well, I came in to school this morning relieved. None of our students seemed to be involved.

But my relief turned to tears quickly. The father of one of our students was killed.

I’ve known the student in question for two years now. She’s a good writer and a bit volatile in temperament. She signed up for an elective I co-teach and has really flourished.

The thing I noticed is that while I’m hiding in an office trying to recover myself enough to proceed with classes, the students. . . they are not weeping. This is neither unexpected nor abnormal for them. They’ve stopped crying. This violence has become part of their vocabulary. If it’s done anything, it has cemented further their beliefs that their view of the world – one ruled by inescapable violence – is corrent.

So while I have the privilege of reading and crying about violence, our students have made it normal. I imagine they have to. Otherwise, the relentlessness of it would probably traumatize them even more than many of them are already traumatized. It is, quite literally, a question of survival.

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