On Monday morning, I got a robocall from my son's high school. Central was on lockdown. A student had been shot in the arm out front. This was not a school shooting. The girl was caught in the crossfire. She went to the nurse, received expert care, and was transferred to the hospital. Last I heard, she was in stable condition at Einstein Hospital.
No one else was hurt. The school administration, staff, and students responded impeccably. The police responded promptly.
>> READ MORE: Girl, 17, shot near Philly's Central High School
My response was a little different.
I teach school, and today I fell apart in front of a class. I was emotional and needed a minute to pull myself together. Another teacher covered my class, and I went to the school nurse and cried on her shoulder. Literally.
Like the nurse at Central, her response was impeccable. She hugged me, handed me tissues, and then talked me through what happens next.
She said that the most important part, the crucial part, is the conversation my husband and I will have with our son at home. This is a conversation no parents should ever have to have with their child.
Gun violence at school, at a concert, at the movies, in the street, or anywhere is too common today. It is normal. How did we allow this to happen? How did our system get so broken that we allow it to continue?
I don't have an answer. I go to protests. I write to my legislators.
I will send Sens. Pat Toomey and Bob Casey a version of this letter. Many citizens do the same. Still, the violence continues.
My school nurse offered pieces of a solution. I will take her words of wisdom, and I will use them. I ask you to do the same. Here's what she advised:
First, we should talk to our children and find out how they feel. We know how we feel. What do they think? Do they feel safe at school? We need to listen to our children.
Second, we should teach peace. Teach inner calm and problem-solving. The ripples of that can change our society.
Samantha Erickson is a public school teacher and a mother of two children in Philadelphia public schools. She lives in Chestnut Hill.