Texas elementary shooting prompts tough conversations with children about school-violence

May 25, 2022, 10:22 AM
Members of the community gather at the City of Uvalde Town Square for a prayer vigil in the wake of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Kids across the country are asking questions about what happened in that Texas elementary school — and whether or not they can feel safe.

Ashlee McDonald, the Washington state chapter lead for the organization “Moms Demand Action,” deals with gun violence issues all the time.

She says the best thing a parent can do right now is not to sugar-coat the situation.

“Having this conversation is tough, it’s emotional, it’s raw. We cannot shield our kids from this. The reality is that our kids must go through lockdown drills,” McDonald told KIRO Newsradio.

“I don’t know that our young kids truly understand what it is they’re locking down from. I think that as parents, we need to be as honest as we can, as forthcoming as we can, let them see the vulnerability and the emotion, and understand that this is a serious issue.”

McDonald says it’s essential to ask your children specific questions about how they feel.

Ross: At what point do parents just give up and send their kids back to online classrooms?

“Have a conversation with your pediatrician about how to address this kind of trauma with your kid. And then listen to your kids. You know, the little ones, all the way up to high school in college, they are acutely aware of what is happening,” McDonald continued.

“They are, I think, more aware than we realize, and just ask them questions, ask them how they’re feeling. Ask them what’s on their mind. That’s how we’re gonna get through this, by listening to them and having an honest conversation.”

University of Washington’s Dr. Fred Rivara, pediatrician and gun researcher, echoed a similar sentiment about the importance of communication with children.

“It’s the whole community that suffers, and now school kids may be afraid to go to school,” Rivara told KIRO Newsradio.

“We’ve had a terrible failure of our school system during the pandemic, providing education for kids.”

“Now, kids have to live, on top of that, with the fear of going to school because of the school shootings.”

“Tell them you love them and that you will keep them safe, that you would do everything you can to prevent something like this from happening to them.”

KIRO Newsradio’s Lisa Brooks and Heather Bosch contributed to this report

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Texas elementary shooting prompts tough conversations with children about school-violence