A school bus driver in Alabama was shot and killed Tuesday afternoon after a man with a gun boarded the bus and demanded a 5- and 8-year-old child. When the driver refused, the man shot and killed him. The man escaped with one child who reportedly passed out on the scene. As of Wednesday morning, the hostage situation had yet to be resolved and the man was holding the child in some kind of underground bunker.
There are no words for how terrifying and tragic this is. And all I can think is not again. Please not again.
After the tragedy in Newtown where 20 beautiful 6- and 7-year-olds were senselessly murdered, almost nothing fills parent with more fear than another school shooting and another young child in mortal peril. But even in the midst of these horrific stories that fill us with fear and sadness, there is a glimmer of hope.
That bus driver gave his life protecting those kids. He was willing to say no to a man with a gun in order to protect his young charges. Despite the horror we should all feel at these kinds of stories, there is a bit of comfort in that. The people we trust with our most precious possessions would give their lives for them.
In the days after Newtown, across the country, when parents were dropping their children at school in a daze of fear and sadness, I kept fighting the urge to hug my children's teachers. Never had I felt more scared to leave my kids and yet felt more love and confidence for and in the people I left them with.
Teachers, bus drivers, lunch aides, principals, and all educators have always had my heart, but never more so in the days after Newtown. And now this just confirms it. My heart goes out to the family of this bus driver whose name has yet to be released, but maybe they can take comfort in his courage, too.
We need to deal with gun violence in this country. We get that message loud and clear. No doubt. But we also need to get up in the morning, go to work, and send our kids to school on a daily basis. If we live in fear and sadness, we can't function.
The only thing that allows me to still send my kids to school is the heroism these educators show in the face of unimaginable fear. If they can do it, so can I. And I can trust them to do their best to protect my children. That's what allows me to continue our daily routine.
Let's all hope this situation is resolved quickly and this poor child is returned to his family where they can help him heal from the trauma.
Do you feel safe sending your child to school?
Image via dave_7/Flickr