I got a phone call early Tuesday morning: there had been a shooting in our school parking lot, school was canceled for the day, I needed to call all the parents and let them know to keep their kids in bed.
Ends up that a local police officer had taken his own life in the staff parking lot during the wee morning hours.
Wednesday morning we were given a quick opportunity to discuss ways to handle, err, difficult conversations with our students. One teacher shared that she figured it wouldn't be a big deal- we were working with young children, after all.
Ends up that those young children have a lot more thoughts than most people typically give them credit for.
Truth is, my class of first graders spent the first hour and fifteen minutes of the school day in a circle on the floor talking about suicide, death, what happens to your body when you die, if it hurts to be shot by a gun, what happened to all the people who were hit by the big wave in Japan, and how crummy it is to feel so sad that you don't want to live anymore.
One of my kiddos shared that he could relate to that sadness- but it's cool... he's just seven.