I don't know exactly how it happened but it bloody hurt! Last Thursday morning I fell down a flight of stairs in a most undignified manner. My legs were cut, bruised and swollen. As I sat in the Nurse's office with ice bags on my legs I cried. All the emotion of having to pack up and say goodbye to my colleague's at two schools. The emotion of saying farewell to the sweet children I teach. Accepting that the special friendships we have made will most likely end due to the distance between America and Australia. I was in shock and this combined with all the pressure involved with leaving signalled the opening of the floodgates.
I was feeling very emotional and overwhelmed when I woke on Friday morning but also grateful not to have to go to work as I was home on workers compensation leave.
Then I heard the terrible news - that On December 14, 2012, a gunman killed twenty children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Connecticut, before committing suicide.
I sat and cried while watching the event unfold on television. It has deeply upset me. As an elementary school teacher in the US with two young children, my heart aches for the parents of these children and the other innocent people who died. I watched desperate, panicked parents looking for their children, waiting outside for the news that their children were still alive. I watched as youngsters at the kindergarten-through-fourth-grade school exited the building with their eyes closed so that they wouldn’t see the bodies, blood and broken glass. I watched as little children the same ages as my own children,were escorted through a parking lot in a line, hands on each other’s shoulders.
I felt proud to be a teacher as I learnt of the brave and courageous decisions that saved the lives of many innocent children at Sandy Hooke.
I sat and watched President Obama deliver an emotional and powerful speech, and I continued to cry.
Throughout my year abroad I have regularly been asked about the differences between America and Australia.
I have one answer - GUNS!
I am thankful for Australia's gun laws. I have been shocked and am tired of hearing that Americans have the constitutional right to bear arms. I suggest these people read the Second Amendment to the constitution which says: ''A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.'' Gun owners always fail to mention the need for a well-regulated militia.
It feels like the world has gone crazy! I am stunned and appalled that so many in the US believe the solution to prevent mass shootings in schools is to simply arm teachers. Surely less guns and not more guns is obvious the answer!
When my children ask about this tragedy I am going to tell them that we are going home to Australia, to a country that cares more about their children then an individuals right to bear arms!