02 03 Notes from the School Psychologist: Free the Kids! 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Free the Kids!

I wrote a while ago about the overprotection of children. Turns out, this is a hot topic. You simply must read this article called Why I Let My 9-year old Ride the Subway Alone.

My reaction is mixed. I try not to subscribe to the culture of fear, but it is all around and so difficult to combat. When I arrived at my new district, I got a list of the 10,000 things that can go wrong and the correct emergency procedures. As I thumbed through the list, alphabetically ordered, (not by severity of disaster) I actually laughed out loud. When will I ever need to know the procedure for an emergency aircraft landing on school property?* Then, my amygdala, center of fear, and my frontal lobe o’ reason had a debate.

Amygdala: Wait. What if there WAS an aircraft that had to land in an emergency? Our school yard is kind of spacious...

Frontal Lobe: When was the last time an aircraft had to land at a school? It would only be newsworthy because it would be extraordinarily rare.

Amygdala: AAAAAAHHHH! Can’t you just see the 747 screaming toward the innocent little kindergartners? And there you are, personally responsible for not ushering them to safety.

Frontal Lobe: Would I even have time to react if a 747 was screaming towards us?

Amygdala: Better safe then sorry. I’ll be ready for the burning inferno of terror.

The real questions I have are: What impact does paranoid adult culture have on our children? Are we teaching them that the world is a scary and unpredictable place? How can educators take appropriate precautions to keep our kids safe without going overboard?

*Some other delightful scenarios included Antrax, Bioterrorism, Hazardous Material Spill Near Campus, and Snipers (Must. refrain. from. Hilliary. Clinton. joke.)

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