First-grade School Shooting in Virginia, 2023

By Greg Baer M.D.

May 11, 2023


Teacher Sues School District for the School Shooting

Early this year, 2023, a first-grade teacher in Virginia was shot in the chest by one of her 6-year-old students. Yes, SIX years old.

Soon after, the teacher sued the school district for $40 million in damages, accusing them of being negligent in protecting her. Supporting her claim, she said:

  1. School administrators were warned on three occasions that the child had a gun.
    Sounds like a reasonable support for SCHOOL negligence, doesn’t it? NO, it doesn’t. Would you care to guess how many times this child behaved badly at home, with nobody stopping the behavior? Oh, after 30 years of experience, I’d estimate at least a thousand times, but the parents are not being held responsible at all for failing to teach that child how to behave in acceptable ways? We’re saying that it’s the school’s fault that this child was not properly loved and taught? The parents had the boy under their care for 85% of the hours of a year, but the SCHOOL is responsible for the child’s behavior?
    Not a chance. It’s all about the parents. Always is. The parents taught and cemented the pattern of thinking and behavior that led to a choice that just happened to take place in a school. Who failed here? The school? No.
  2. School officials were warned that the child was in a “violent mood.”
    I can state as a fact that for every time any child is violent at school, his or her parents fail to address DOZENS—or more—of angry and violent behaviors at home. The PARENTS are responsible for the child’s behavior, not the school administrators who have the child for 15% of the year. It’s all about the parents. Am I BLAMING them? Blaming is silly. Parenting is very, very difficult, impossible without training. I’m saying only that a child’s behavior is all about the parents.
  3. There were no metal detectors in the school. I wonder, if metal detectors had been installed at school, would those machines have taught the child civility, responsibility, and kindness at HOME, where it needed to be taught? The answer to that rhetorical question is NO.
  4. The school failed to take the gun from the child. But it turns out that a school employee had searched the child’s backpack before the shooting, after a report that the student may have had a weapon. They found no weapon. So where IS the responsibility for the child having a gun in the first place? He took it from home, where it was NOT kept safely, after it had been purchased by his MOTHER.

Summary of the Law Suit in the School Shooting

So let me summarize the finger-pointing in this event:

  1. The teacher blamed the school and the district for not taking the gun from the child.
  2. The school board blamed the superintendent.
  3. The anti-hand gun people blamed the gun laws of the state and country.
  4. The community blamed the school and district for not having metal detectors at an ELEMENTARY school.
  5. The teacher and her lawyer blamed the school for not acting on a report of a child being in a violent mood. Do you have any clue how many incidences of anger and emotional and physical violence teachers see in an average day?

Parental Responsibility in School Shootings

So blame was assigned everywhere except the most obvious place: at home, where the child was born, trained, and raised for 85% of every year. For a child halfway through the first grade, he would actually have been at school for less than 5% of his life. So the shooting was the school’s fault? Utterly, absolutely not. It’s all about the parents.

Now, imagine that you buy some tomato seeds and plant them in the ground—at the wrong time of year, at the wrong depth, with the wrong spacing, with no mulching, and in ground totally unsuitable for that crop. Then you don’t water the ground, you don’t weed around the plants, you don’t fertilize them, and you regularly drive your truck over the rows.

And, once in a while, kids from neighboring yards allow a ball or two to escape and roll across your garden plot.

At harvest time, you discover tiny tomato plants here and there in your garden, with tiny, misshapen, and useless tomatoes.

Who’s responsible for this failure? You could blame the stupid neighbor kids who allowed an occasional ball into your garden. And yes, they could have been more careful, but their ultimate responsibility is, roughly, zero. No, YOU are responsible for the bad planting, no water, no fertilizing, no weeding, and bad truck driving. YOU, not some thoughtless kids.

Preventing School Shootings

In exactly the same way, WE are responsible for raising our children, not the schools, not the teachers. Do mistakes occur at school. Of course, but that only distracts us from the glaring fact that it’s our job as parents to feed, weed, water, fertilize, and protect. I know a great number of teachers, and they regularly say that parents routinely drop their kids off at the curb and expect the teachers to correct problems that were all created at home. The teachers are right. It’s all about the parents.

School shootings are happening at a rate unimaginable in years past. In 2022, a news outlet reported a school shooting that occurred in MAY—not even halfway through the year—and already there had been 220 mass shootings and 27 school shootings in the country. And people keep blaming gun laws, schools, society as a whole, the “other” political party, lack of religious instruction, social media, movies, and on and on.

As long as we blame anyone but ourselves, these tragedies will continue, not to mention the lack of studying, excellence, and citizenship found among our children. It’s all about the parents.

Learn how you can DO something not only to protect your children but to lift them out of the darkness into the light. Learn how to love and teach your children, raising kids who feel loved and who are loving, responsible, and happy.

Learn More Here!

Raise happy, responsible, loving children.

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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