I recently had a conversation with an old friend from high school about the unprecedented number of school shootings that have been occurring recently. Throughout the discussion, my friend kept referring back to the number of people who used to have firearms in their vehicle, in school parking lots, decades ago. Despite access to weapons, no one imagined that student heading to his car, grabbing a gun, and inflicting damage onto others. My friend centered the blame on poor parenting, lazy teachers, and a generation of selfish children.

I couldn’t disagree more.

When I think back to my parents’ generation and, to some extent, my own, schools were the center of community life. The students who sat next to you in the classroom were the same people who rode your bus, lived on your street, and played kickball with you in the summer. Those same kids had parents who you knew by name, and they spent time with your parents at bake sales and neighborhood get-togethers. It was a community. There were layers of ties attaching everyone together in an intricate web.

This is what we have lost.

High schools now are so large that many are bigger than the college from which I received my bachelor’s degree. Students no longer know many of the people seated at the desks next to them — and they certainly don’t know their parents. Teachers are stretched so thin by the tasks they are asked to do and the number of students they watch over; they are unable to intervene in true times of necessity.

I am beyond grateful for the small, close knit community we have developed here at Harrisburg Academy. Although tragedy can strike anywhere, I have confidence in the students we are raising and the character they are developing. I know more parents than I ever thought possible, and I know my colleagues even better. We are #HAProud and #HAStrong.

These are the ties that bind.

Learn more about Harrisburg Academy on our school website.