When you’re a homeschooled student, there are a lot of things you don’t have to worry about. You don’t have to worry about lunch money, you don’t have to worry about being suspended from school, you don’t have to worry about being on time, and you certainly don’t have to worry about school shootings.
Homeschoolers typically preform better academically than their public school peers because we have all the time in the world to learn a certain subject or concept. We are able to spend a lot of time with our families and friends. And most importantly? We are usually happier than other students because we don’t face as much (if any) bullying and the majority of us don’t have to worry about our physical safety as public school students do.
And yet, as a teenage homeschooled student, I’m not happy. I’m the saddest I’ve ever been. I am overwhelmed with anger, worry, and grief. I am appalled at U.S. lawmakers for allowing this to happen and for continuing to allow this kind of thing to happen for decades. To assume that homeschoolers are not affected by school shootings is one of the worst assumptions anyone could make; all students are affected by school shootings.
Nineteen elementary school children have died in a school shooting yesterday, and I have to take a step back and wonder: could this have been me? Could this have been my little sister? Why does this happenall the time? Will my future children be subject to these inhumane acts?
There is some strange, unabashed guilt and curiosity that I’m sure all homeschoolers have felt towards these events at least once in their lives. We have always had the luxury of being sheltered from hatred and violence that infects school systems; we’ve watched fellow students throughout the U.S. die because of an itchy trigger finger; We’ve watched children die completely preventable deaths, and I wonder what might have happened to my sister and I had we gone to public school instead.
I am constantly worried for my long-distance boyfriend because he goes to a public school. I am constantly worried for my online friends and my cousins because they go to public schools. I am constantly worried for the students in my own community because they spend over eight hours in a physical school building.
I can’t begin to fathom what it would feel like to face such tremendous loss and fear, which is perhaps one of the most scary things about school shootings to the homeschooling community. We are hyper-aware of all that could go wrong in a public school and, when something does go wrong, we are reminded of the fact that us or one of our loved ones could have been just one victim in a thousand.
We are reminded of the fact that this is an inescapable reality.