Posts Tagged ‘Nancy Lanza’

A Teacher’s Guide to Talking to Students About the Newtown School Shooting

December 28, 2012

newtown

A brilliant resource compiled by The New York Times. I strongly recommend this for parents too.

 

Click on the link to read The Children Must Be Safe Because Their Teacher is Carrying a Gun

Click on the link to read Adam Lanza’s Brother: I am a Victim Too!

Click on the link to read Revealed: Adam Lanza’s Motive

Click on the link to read Do You Really Want to Arm Me?

Click on the link to read Living With Adam Lanza

Click on the link to read School Shooting Showcases the Heroic Nature of Brilliant Teachers

Click on the link to read Let’s Make Sure that this School Shooting is the Last

Click on the link to read Get Rid of Your Guns!

Click on the link to read Explaining the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting to Children

 

The Children Must Be Safe Because Their Teacher is Carrying a Gun

December 26, 2012

Teachers who think that bringing a loaded gun to school protects their students have rocks in their head. After the shocking events of last week our children to be reassured not bodyguarded. They need to feel that school is a safe place.

When a teacher decides to bring a gun to school they are encouraging already anxious kids to become more worried and insecure. Our children need to be sheltered from guns, not see them as a normal everyday imperative for ones own security.

I detest the idea of putting guns in the hands of the very people instituted to be our children’s role models.

The teacher who decided to bring a gun to school may have thought she was protecting her students, but are our students so much safer in such an environment?:

Fear over the Newtown school shooting prompted a Minnesota teacher to bring a loaded gun to school last week, forcing a school lockdown. The unnamed teacher, a female in her 50s, has been placed on administrative leave from Seward Montessori School in Minneapolis.

“This is the first case like this I’ve ever heard of,” Minneapolis police Sgt. Bill Palmer told KMSP. “In this day in age in this week, handguns in schools are of great concern to everyone.”

Acting on a tip from a staff member, the school principal alerted the school resource officer, who confiscated the gun from the teacher, in her 21st year of employment at the school. The loaded .357 Magnum handgun was in the educator’s locker in the teacher’s lounge, according to the Star Tribune. School officials confirm that no students or staff were harmed or injured.

While the teacher was not arrested, she could face misdemeanor charges for violating conditions of her Minnesota conceal carry permit, which prohibits firearms in schools without written permission from a principal or school official.

Parents were notified of the incident by phone.

Click on the link to read Adam Lanza’s Brother: I am a Victim Too!

Click on the link to read Revealed: Adam Lanza’s Motive

Click on the link to read Do You Really Want to Arm Me?

Click on the link to read Living With Adam Lanza

Click on the link to read School Shooting Showcases the Heroic Nature of Brilliant Teachers

Click on the link to read Let’s Make Sure that this School Shooting is the Last

Click on the link to read Get Rid of Your Guns!

Click on the link to read Explaining the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting to Children

Adam Lanza’s Brother: I am a Victim Too!

December 24, 2012

 

ryan

 

Adam Lanza’s brother makes two bold statements – one I agree with and one I don’t. I agree with Ryan Lanza that he is also a victim of this awful story (albeit a lesser one), but I vehemently disagree with his assertion that his brother was no monster.

Any person that takes the lives of innocent children in a premeditated fashion deserves every label coming to them:

The brother of Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza has spoken out, saying that in spite of the horror caused at the hands of his younger sibling, he is still grieving his death.

Ryan Lanza posted two photos on Facebook over the weekend, one of his brother Adam and one of his mother Nancy- who was the first victim in the shooting spree- with emotional messages in the captions.

‘I will miss you bro. I will always love you as long as I live,’ he wrote under a picture of a then-teenaged Adam.

A similar sentiment went out to his mother, for whom he said ‘I miss you mom. I love you so much. You will always be in my heart.’

Ryan, 24, also had a Facebook chat with a reporter from The New York Post where he said ‘I am a victim’.

‘I loss [sic] my mom and brother,’ he said according to the paper.

Though this is his first time formally speaking with a reporter, it was not the first time that he took to Facebook to speak out about the case.

Ryan was initially identified as the shooter in the crazed hours immediately following the shooting on Friday December 14 when Adam killed his mother in their Connecticut home and then proceeded to kill 20 young children, six teachers and himself.

Because Adam had his brother’s identification on him at the time of the shooting, police initially announced that it was Ryan Lanza who was the murderer.

That absence does not seem to have made him any less loyal, however, as he now takes to Facebook to criticize those who criticize his dead brother.For instance, when someone wrote on Ryan’s pace that his brother deserved to ‘rot in hell’ and was the ‘scum of the earth’, Ryan responded by writing ‘I am so tired of people blaming me or something my brother did. I love Adam, hes [sic] my brother.’

Ryan continued, saying that the person who commented was a stranger: ‘He is calling my brother a monster when he don’t [sic] even know him’.

Ryan Lanza has every right to feel the distress over the loss of his brother, and especially his mother. People should understand this and give him the space he deserves. It is quite inappropriate to write hurtful and upsetting messages abou0t his brother on his Facebook page.

Monster or no monster, Ryan Lanza’s life will never be the same again .

nancy

Click on the link to read Revealed: Adam Lanza’s Motive

Click on the link to read Do You Really Want to Arm Me?

Click on the link to read Living With Adam Lanza

Click on the link to read School Shooting Showcases the Heroic Nature of Brilliant Teachers

Click on the link to read Let’s Make Sure that this School Shooting is the Last

Click on the link to read Get Rid of Your Guns!

Click on the link to read Explaining the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting to Children

Living With Adam Lanza

December 17, 2012

mike

Whilst I am not a fan of profiling a gunman, the following article entitled ‘I am Adam Lanza’s Mother’: A Mom’s Perspective On The Mental Illness Conversation In America, gives us a great insight into the difficulties of raising children with mental disorders:

Friday’s horrific national tragedy — the murder of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut — has ignited a new discussion on violence in America. In kitchens and coffee shops across the country, we tearfully debate the many faces of violence in America: gun culture, media violence, lack of mental health services, overt and covert wars abroad, religion, politics and the way we raise our children. Liza Long, a writer based in Boise, says it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

While every family’s story of mental illness is different, and we may never know the whole of the Lanza’s story, tales like this one need to be heard — and families who live them deserve our help.

Three days before 20 year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, then opened fire on a classroom full of Connecticut kindergartners, my 13-year old son Michael (name changed) missed his bus because he was wearing the wrong color pants.

“I can wear these pants,” he said, his tone increasingly belligerent, the black-hole pupils of his eyes swallowing the blue irises.

“They are navy blue,” I told him. “Your school’s dress code says black or khaki pants only.”

“They told me I could wear these,” he insisted. “You’re a stupid bitch. I can wear whatever pants I want to. This is America. I have rights!”

“You can’t wear whatever pants you want to,” I said, my tone affable, reasonable. “And you definitely cannot call me a stupid bitch. You’re grounded from electronics for the rest of the day. Now get in the car, and I will take you to school.”

I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.

A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan — they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.

That conflict ended with three burly police officers and a paramedic wrestling my son onto a gurney for an expensive ambulance ride to the local emergency room. The mental hospital didn’t have any beds that day, and Michael calmed down nicely in the ER, so they sent us home with a prescription for Zyprexa and a follow-up visit with a local pediatric psychiatrist.

We still don’t know what’s wrong with Michael. Autism spectrum, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant or Intermittent Explosive Disorder have all been tossed around at various meetings with probation officers and social workers and counselors and teachers and school administrators. He’s been on a slew of antipsychotic and mood altering pharmaceuticals, a Russian novel of behavioral plans. Nothing seems to work.

At the start of seventh grade, Michael was accepted to an accelerated program for highly gifted math and science students. His IQ is off the charts. When he’s in a good mood, he will gladly bend your ear on subjects ranging from Greek mythology to the differences between Einsteinian and Newtonian physics to Doctor Who. He’s in a good mood most of the time. But when he’s not, watch out. And it’s impossible to predict what will set him off.

Several weeks into his new junior high school, Michael began exhibiting increasingly odd and threatening behaviors at school. We decided to transfer him to the district’s most restrictive behavioral program, a contained school environment where children who can’t function in normal classrooms can access their right to free public babysitting from 7:30-1:50 Monday through Friday until they turn 18.

The morning of the pants incident, Michael continued to argue with me on the drive. He would occasionally apologize and seem remorseful. Right before we turned into his school parking lot, he said, “Look, Mom, I’m really sorry. Can I have video games back today?”

“No way,” I told him. “You cannot act the way you acted this morning and think you can get your electronic privileges back that quickly.”

His face turned cold, and his eyes were full of calculated rage. “Then I’m going to kill myself,” he said. “I’m going to jump out of this car right now and kill myself.”

That was it. After the knife incident, I told him that if he ever said those words again, I would take him straight to the mental hospital, no ifs, ands, or buts. I did not respond, except to pull the car into the opposite lane, turning left instead of right.
“Where are you taking me?” he said, suddenly worried. “Where are we going?”

“You know where we are going,” I replied.

“No! You can’t do that to me! You’re sending me to hell! You’re sending me straight to hell!”

I pulled up in front of the hospital, frantically waiving for one of the clinicians who happened to be standing outside. “Call the police,” I said. “Hurry.”

Michael was in a full-blown fit by then, screaming and hitting. I hugged him close so he couldn’t escape from the car. He bit me several times and repeatedly jabbed his elbows into my rib cage. I’m still stronger than he is, but I won’t be for much longer.
The police came quickly and carried my son screaming and kicking into the bowels of the hospital. I started to shake, and tears filled my eyes as I filled out the paperwork — “Were there any difficulties with… at what age did your child… were there any problems with.. has your child ever experienced.. does your child have…”

At least we have health insurance now. I recently accepted a position with a local college, giving up my freelance career because when you have a kid like this, you need benefits. You’ll do anything for benefits. No individual insurance plan will cover this kind of thing.

For days, my son insisted that I was lying — that I made the whole thing up so that I could get rid of him. The first day, when I called to check up on him, he said, “I hate you. And I’m going to get my revenge as soon as I get out of here.”

By day three, he was my calm, sweet boy again, all apologies and promises to get better. I’ve heard those promises for years. I don’t believe them anymore.

On the intake form, under the question, “What are your expectations for treatment?” I wrote, “I need help.”

And I do. This problem is too big for me to handle on my own. Sometimes there are no good options. So you just pray for grace and trust that in hindsight, it will all make sense.

I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and only one was a woman. Mother Jones focused on whether the killers obtained their guns legally (most did). But this highly visible sign of mental illness should lead us to consider how many people in the U.S. live in fear, like I do.

When I asked my son’s social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.”

I don’t believe my son belongs in jail. The chaotic environment exacerbates Michael’s sensitivity to sensory stimuli and doesn’t deal with the underlying pathology. But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise — in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population.

With state-run treatment centers and hospitals shuttered, prison is now the last resort for the mentally ill — Rikers Island, the LA County Jail and Cook County Jail in Illinois housed the nation’s largest treatment centers in 2011.

No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, “Something must be done.”

I agree that something must be done. It’s time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That’s the only way our nation can ever truly heal.

God help me. God help Michael. God help us all.

Click on the link to read School Shooting Showcases the Heroic Nature of Brilliant Teachers

Click on the link to read Let’s Make Sure that this School Shooting is the Last

Click on the link to read Get Rid of Your Guns!

Click on the link to read Explaining the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting to Children

Let’s Make Sure that this School Shooting is the Last

December 16, 2012

adama

I’ve had enough of reading about more innocent lives lost to violent outbursts. I’m also tired of our obsession with profiling gunmen. Why did he do it? Was he quiet? Was he clever? Was he a recluse?

The papers will point to his mental disorder or parents breakup as the reason. But surely living through a divorce and struggling with a mental disorder does not in itself lead to crimes of this magnitude being committed:

Three years previously, in 2009, Nancy and Peter Lanza had divorced after 28 years of marriage. The break up was traumatic, leaving the couple’s sons devastated. Ryan Lanza was living away at university, meaning that his brother Adam, four years younger, was left at home alone with their mother at their £350,000 house.

He was not well known to neighbours, who describe him as being reclusive and troubled.

And when the news broke on Friday of the murder of 26 people at a primary school in the town, and Ryan Lanza was hastily identified as the killer, people who knew the family knew they had named the wrong brother.

“Adam Lanza has been a weird kid since we were five years old,” said Tim Dalton, a neighbour and former classmate, on Twitter. “As horrible as this was, I can’t say I am surprised.”

“This was a deeply disturbed kid,” a family insider said. “He certainly had major issues. He was subject to outbursts from what I recall.”

A further family friend said he had acted as though he was immune to pain.

“A few years ago when he was on the baseball team, everyone had to be careful that he didn’t fall because he could get hurt and not feel it,” said the friend. “Adam had a lot of mental problems.”

What we should really be focusing on is strategies to help ensure that we don’t have to read about another school shooting again.

Click on the link to read Get Rid of Your Guns!

Click on the link to read Explaining the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting to Children

Click on the link to read Helping Kids Cope in the Aftermath of Sandy

Click here to read ‘Helping Our Children Make Sense of Natural Disasters’.


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