By Jane Balvanz, MSE, RPT
Professional School Counselor

Today I write with a deep sadness that has settled in my bones and impregnated my soul.  I join billions worldwide who mourn the children, school staff, and mother betrayed by a son who died in the shootings at Sandy Hook School.  The 27 dead have had their dreams and futures taken from them, one by choice.  I cannot fathom the impact this presents to remaining family members, friends, classmates, and colleagues.  They’re in my thoughts and prayers.

I can’t write about bullying today, although I acknowledge this violent act fits the definition.  It was one-sided with that side having greater power (guns), and it was unfair.

With gratitude to those who come from without the school buildings (emergency workers, protective agencies, and healers of many types, etc.), I want acknowledge those who work inside the schools.  They train for the possibility of a school shooting, while hoping it never happens.  They’re those on the front lines.


I Never Knew

Dedicated to all school staff around the world and, most especially, for the staff of Sandy Hook Elementary

I knew…
You worked with children, whether you
Taught the students,
Managed the school,
Gave specialized support,
Served the lunches,
Mopped the floors,
Took the temperatures,
Guarded the building,
Blew the whistle,
Or counted the tardies.

I assumed …
Your job was easy,
Your job was hard,
You liked children,
Or maybe not.
You tied shoelaces and wiped noses,
Taught the curriculum,
Attended many meetings,
Loved what you did or,
Worked only for June, July, and August,

I wondered if…
Your patience would hold,
You’d stay in the profession,
You knew what you were doing,
Your heart ever breaks,
You had a heart,
You were OK,
My child was OK with you,
Anyone could ever replace you,
You’d ever consider my apology.

But, I never knew…
All for which you trained,
What ‘in the trenches’ really meant,
The extent of your dedication,
How you could rise to the occasion,
That the worst could happen,
And how you’d be there,
When it did,
All in the interest,
Of my child.

~Jane Balvanz

© 2012 A Way Through, LLC


You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Bullying strategists Jane Balvanz and Blair Wagner publish GAPRA’s bi-weekly articles. If you’re ready to guide children in grades K – 12 through painful friendships and emotional bullying:

For help with emotional bullying:

For the When Girls Hurt Girls® program: