Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Need for Accurate Information

The conversation I had with my students this morning about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was one of the most difficult conversations I have had in my career. Their comments were thoughtful. Their questions focused on the needs and safety of others, not their own. I was in awe of them; their strength during an incomprehensible time.
Their questions and commented demonstrated a need for them, like many of us, to understand this tragedy. Like us, they've heard a lot of theories about why those 26 Sandy Hook inhabitants were murdered. And some of them were still operating under an understanding of a lot of misinformation that was delivered those initial twenty-four hours.
It was a struggle to clarify those misconceptions without giving them any details. I found myself repeating, "During tragedies like these people try to make sense of what happened. In an attempt to do that, they can sometimes give and receive misinformation." I found myself telling them that sometimes this misinformation can frighten us more than the truth. That during incomprehensible tragedies like these we need to make an effort to get information from those who have first hand knowledge of the facts, like Lt. Vance or Governor Malloy.
It is quite frustrating when the media for provides misinformation. They have done such a disservice to the victims and survivors. Not to mention the damage they are causing those with mental illness and autism. It is my hope that while policy makers will be taking a look at gun laws and health services that the media takes a look at their need to get 'in front of a story' and the information they are passing off as fact for the sake of ratings.