Yesterday there was a shooting on the street right outside our local playground.  It is most likely gang-related and is the third in the past week in our neighborhood.  My daughter (6) and I were not at the playground at the time.  She does not have any knowledge of these shootings.

This morning another unschooling mom and friend called me to say that she had been contacted by another parent (not unschooling) who wants to organize some sort of "safety-awareness teaching event" for children in the neighborhood and wants my friend's input and assistance on it.  My friend is very active in a local parents groups here and that is why she is being contacted.  She called me, as one unschooler to another, to ask for advice on how to respond.  I have not had a chance talk with her today.

My question is if and how to talk with my daughter about the situation as it is likely that she will hear of it through other children and/or their parents. The situation in the neighborhood will likely escalate as warm weather comes and folks are out on the street more.  While Chicago does have ongoing gang violence issues, it is a new development to have these events occurring quite literally in our back yard. 

I am going to do a search on this and other unschooling sites about responses to violent events but I would appreciate hearing others'  experiences, ideas and recommendations.



Sandra Dodd

What education will help kids be safer?
I can't imagine what it will involve other than scaring kids who aren't scared.

Personally, I would not participate, and would discourage the other mom from participating.

Too many parent make noise and motion that causes more damage than good. It makes them feel important, maybe, and self-righteous, but if a police force can't prevent violence, a parent group can't, either. And a scared kid is just as UNlikely to be shot as a happy kid. So I would go with happiness and risk, rather than the SURE unhappiness that will come (with nightmares) from scaring little children in detail.



Sandra, thank you.  As it happens, I was reading (again) your essay on Noisy Peace just the day before this happened. Then, when I was taking some time to think through what I wanted to say to my friend, your description of Holly sleeping peacefully and thus adding peace to the world came to my mind.  I imagined the anxiety and fretfulness that some of the parents might pass on to their children by trying to "teach" them to be safe.  So your words helped twice.  I am going to jot down these ideas so that I can reach for them when the shootings come up in parents' playground gossip, I can also choose to add peace.