When I was growing up, my siblings and I went to a Catholic elementary school. With a public high school just blocks from our house we parted ways with a private school education after the 8th grade. Some of my siblings have sent their kids to Catholic schools, and some of us have gone the public route.
Like my family, my neighborhood is a combination of both. When we moved here I entertained the idea of sending my kids to the Catholic school, but this area of Kansas is known for its quality education and so we decided to send them to public schools. We have never regretted the decision and I am sure my neighbors with kids in private schools would say the same.
Over more than twenty years of being in the school system, we have known many families that have experienced tragic losses. My dear friend, Vicki, died of ovarian cancer with a 7th grader and kindergartner left behind. Days later, another 7th grade girl lost her dad to a sudden heart attack. I know two families who have dealt with the sudden shocking diagnosis of a brain tumor and several mothers who have breast cancer. Last month, a senior at our high school died in an ATV accident two days after Thanksgiving while the fifty year old father of two other students collapsed and died on the following day.
In the midst of all of this is a school community that has been enormously supportive. Meals, carpools, transportation to doctor appointments, house and yard cleaning. If a family is in crisis, somebody takes charge and puts people to work.
It is what we do when we cannot fix the very big thing that has gone terribly wrong.
Former Governor Mike Huckabee and other conservative Christians were quick to point out hours after the devastating losses in Connecticut that this tragedy was because we have removed God from our public schools.
Our community is a mixture of many faiths and our public schools are a reflection of that. If those first graders, and the courageous staff that tried to protect them in the last moments they had on this earth, didn't hear the voice of their higher power say..............
Be not afraid
I go before you always
..............then I have wasted a lifetime of prayer.