JZ Blogger

School Killings – In Finland (!)
torsdag, november 8, 2007, 10:39
Filed under: General Blogging

”It’s just something that happens in America,” we all thought.

Well, here we are. But I’m not going to bore you by repeating everything about the Jokela school massacre that has been all over the news for more than a day and a half now. Instead, let’s talk about the aftermath – in other schools.

Only hours after the shootings I know of at least one school who held an immediate ”crisis meeting”. That’s a good thing, as some students may have been in need of talking about what had just happened.

Today, the day after, I also believe most schools, if not all, in Finland have had some sort of moment in memory of the event and those who lost their lives. But what actions should schools that were not affected by anything else than what they heard on TV take besides perhaps a moment of silence? None, if you ask me, which is far from what happened at my school today.

The day started out with an announcement from the headmaster – candles were to be lit in every classroom and the day in general would be a quiet one. Good so far, but there’s more: A priest, the schools health care worker and several teachers were to be present in a separate room all day, a room to which students could come and deal with their emotions.

”What for?” is my question, and many others asked the same. Why would we need to talk about it as if we had been a part of it? Sure, discussing it might be good, but wasn’t this a bit exaggerated?

The shooting was discussed in every class and with every teacher for significant parts of the day. Some might need to talk about it, and it’s always good discussing it to get a broader picture of what’s happened. But psychological help? A priest? Additionally, the headmaster brought the subject up three times over the school speakers, and both a teacher and the priest held a speech/read a text for the school to listen to. Once is compulsory, twice is not bad, but three times? I just don’t get it.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe a time of grief is compulsory in a situation like this one, and the candles in the classrooms were a great idea. Even offering mental help might have been good for some. But seriously, offering mental help to such an extent, plus talking about it all day, was in my opinion going a bit too far.

I’ve even heard of schools in Sweden holding crisis meetings.

The Jokela school massacre is a sad thing, and it’s sad that such shootings have been brought to the northern countries of Europe, but I doubt that many, if any (except those directly involved, of course), are so mentally distressed by this they need more help than just talking to a friend or family.

If anything at all, I feel a lot worse by the situation than I did before.

Let’s have a minute of silence around a lit candle, but let’s also remember – and be thankful for – the fact that we were not directly involved. Save the counseling for those who need it and let’s move on with our lives – a bit wiser but not scared for our lives.

After all, it’s just something that can happen to everyone but us. Right?


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