Stop tasking kids with their own safety

School is tough. I’m all for anti-bully measures that encourage students to be nicer and more inclusive to people in their lives. That’s basic decency! But telling kids to be nice to their classmates because otherwise one of them could become a school shooter? That’s terrible advice. And it’s exactly what is being argued in an article that went viral:

First of all, put down your stupid phone. Look around you at your classmates. Do you see the kid over in the corner, alone? He could likely be our next shooter.

Next, see that kid eating lunch all alone? He could likely be our next shooter. Invite him to eat lunch with you.

Lastly, are you completely frustrated by that kid who always disrupts your class and is consistently sent to the principal’s office? He could likely be our next shooter.

What’s more powerful than a bad guy with a gun? Another student with a smile, apparently:

Don’t trust that walking out of school will bring an answer. Gun control or more laws is not, and will not, be the answer. You are the answer. Your greeting, your smile, your gentle human touch is the only thing that can change the world of a desperate classmate who may be contemplating something as horrendous as a school shooting.

Emphasis mine.

This is obviously ridiculous, but calling this sort of nonsense out is important. Students should not feel responsible for preventing a school shooting! People in the United States go through truly absurd lengths to avoid having tough discussions about guns. That’s ultimately what this is about.

I’m proud of the students who have been unequivocally vocal since the Parkland High shooting. The sort of out-of-touch, myopic, Baby Boomer-sensibility porn found in this “letter” is something we can all do without.