Jul 30, 2019

Every morning our children head off to school eager to learn. Watching them climb aboard the school bus or stream in through the school doors is a joy to behold.

Increasingly, though, what they learn is about the dangers of the world, dangers that far too often burst through those same school house doors.

School violence continues to tear apart society. This past spring alone, there was an average of one shooting per week in our schools.

Why? That’s what we ask every time one of these tragedies occurs. But asking the question is no longer enough for a company with a conscience.

And so National Life Group has partnered with a group of leading teachers, all of them U.S. Varkey Teacher Ambassadors, to found the National Coalition for Safe Schools.

The mission of the coalition is “to address and prevent school shootings and other extreme acts of violence by providing teacher leaders and all school employees with the knowledge, tools and resources they need to proactively keep schools safe.”

Our interest is in making schools safe. We are confident that the teachers organizing this have that simple goal as their principal rallying point.

That confidence comes from Brian Copes, a pre-engineering teacher at Thompson High School in Alabaster, Alabama, not far from Birmingham. Brian was the 2018 grand prize winner of our LifeChanger of the Yeareducator recognition program.

Brian and his colleagues from around the country who are organizing the coalition and an inaugural Powered by Teach to Lead Summit this coming March have two basic questions that they are seeking to answer at the summit:

  • Why are so many children angry?
  • Why do children resort to extreme acts of violence to solve their issues?

We are far from alone in posing such questions and we understand that. But we signed on to help push this coalition forward because of who is seeking to answer the questions: Teachers themselves.

They are the people who understand many of the core issues. They are the adults that we send our kids off to each and every day. We believe that working together, they can begin to get at the root causes for this epidemic with our kids and leave the politics at the school house door.

And so I invite other teachers to join this cause. Consider attending the summit I mentioned earlier and apply online. It will take place March 1-3 in Birmingham. It will be led by teachers and we desperately need to hear their voices.

Applications to attend the summit are due by Friday, January 11th, at 5 p.m. EST. Registration and hotel accommodations will be provided at no cost to all applicants to attend the summit.

Just as importantly, I invite teachers, students, parents and business leaders to join this movement. We have helped to create as the home for the National Coalition for Safe Schools. In coming months, the results of the summit will be available there, along with more resources, ideas and guidance.

Please stay in touch and help us make the coalition’s vision a reality:

“A future where every K-12 school is a safe environment for learning and free from all acts of violence.”