Turning Outrage Into Action in the Wake of Chattanooga’s Bus Tragedy

Five kids are dead in Chattanooga simply by virtue of stepping onto their bus and sitting in their assigned seats as their school day ended.

I’m outraged!

How can this happen?

There should be seat-belts on all buses – as a requirement – no question.

We have laws that require an underweight middle-schooler to be harnessed into a booster seat, but no seat-belts on school buses?

Something seems askew.

No children should die under the safe umbrella of anything related to school.

I’m outraged – but my anger does nothing.

My same anger did nothing when my kids didn’t have daily recess at elementary school.

My anger about my children’s homework did not lead to less being sent home.

When I get angry about my 8 year-old having to choose one sport to play the whole year at the cost of others, I did nothing to change it.

So, I’m calling myself out.

If I’m so outraged – about homework, excessive soccer practices or the need for school buses to be safer – I need to act.

The Chattanooga bus tragedy is the new benchmark for parental outrage.

It’s easy for parents like me to hear that only six states require buses to be outfitted with safety belts and be appalled.

It is much more difficult for me to become an active part of finding solutions.

I should be asking myself the following questions:

-Am I ready to help foot the bill for the seat-belts that I demand?

-Will I help garner support for other parents to agree to foot such a bill?

-If equipping these buses with seat-belts deflects money from other worthy causes, do I agree?

If I cannot honestly answer each of these questions with a resounding “Yes” than my outrage is simply another parental complaint – something that our under-funded, claw-for-every-dollar schools hear far too much of from parents like me.

The tragedy in Chattanooga is terrible and should spark changes that non-profit groups have been clamoring about for decades.

Five kids should not have to die to spawn such action.

The accident reminds me that outrage without willingness to take action is complaining – and does nothing.

Parents like me are far better at reacting than acting – at complaining versus innovating and advocating.

In the wake of the terrible bus tragedy in Chattanooga, my heart aches for those families that have forever changed.

Their pain is a call to action for me, and parents like me – and not only about bus safety.

If I’m truly outraged, if I feel my kids need a voice – I should be ready to act.

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