Families in Florida are making funeral arrangements for their children, and our country is once again caught up in a gun control versus mental health argument. It is an argument that doesn’t ever seem to end. It doesn’t produce results. It doesn’t bring the dead back to life.
This article is not about what side of that battle you fall on. We all have opinions and the easiest thing for us to do is spout them off on social media. We tell our “friends” that change has to happen. We point fingers and place blame. We get on our knees and pray. We weep for those lost and for those who will be lost if someone doesn’t figure out a solution to this problem. We end up feeling completely helpless, afraid, and we don’t actually do anything. I’m not going to tell you what side of this civil war I’m on. What I am going to tell you is that I am not okay with innocent children dying.
It doesn’t matter if I am for or against gun control; I am against parents having to bury their children.
For the longest time, I have sat with my head in my hands and my heart in my throat. I have prayed from the deepest places of my heart for the families undergoing these horrific nightmares. I have prayed for my own children that I would never have to bury another one. Yes, another one. I have a son in heaven and while his death has nothing to do with the current crisis in America, it does not change the fact that I have questioned what I could have done to prevent his death every single day since he died. The answer is nothing. He was born with a severe form of congenital heart disease, and we did everything within our power to save him. Some babies with severely broken hearts die; it is a tragedy that is sometimes completely out of our control. But we can at least try to do something to prevent our children from dying at the hands of a gunman. I personally refuse to bury my head in the sand any longer while we wait for our nation’s leaders to figure this mess out.
We can do something to protect our children; we can effect change within our schools.
As parents, we have a responsibility to our children to ensure their safety while they are at school. Our schools need to be prepared. We need to know which systems are in place and how they can be improved. It all starts with a conversation. Each and every one of us needs to make the effort to contact our school’s administration and find out how they are keeping our children safe. We need to work with our school systems to make changes where they are necessary. We need to be passionate and we need to be persistent. We no longer have the luxury of assuming that all measures are being taken to protect our children and teachers. We can not let the safety of our children fall through the cracks because we assume that someone else is handling it.
We want every teacher, student, and school employee in America to return home to their families at the end of the day. Let’s do everything we can to help them by ensuring the school grounds, buildings, and classrooms are safe and equipped. If we can prevent access to buildings and classrooms, then we can save lives. We need to do our research and present it to our schools. We need to work with teachers and administrators to be sure they, along with our children, are as prepared and protected as possible. If funds are needed, we need to fundraise. If we need to climb a ladder of hierarchy to get things done, then let’s climb it. There is not going to be a one size fits all solution here, so talking to your school and figuring out their specific needs is essential.
We can not live in a bubble and expect that nothing will ever happen to us because nothing bad has happened yet.
That mindset is not only incredibly naive, it is dangerous. We need to take a defensive stance and do whatever we physically can right now to protect our children. I need to be able to put my head down at night and know that I did everything within my control.
If you are tired of feeling helpless, join me and contact your child’s school. Get involved. Be proactive. Try with all of your might to prevent a tragedy and while doing so, continue to pray that we never actually have to face one.
Angela is a South Louisiana native. She is an LSU alum and a small animal veterinarian on the Northshore. She and her husband have three beautiful children, one of whom lives in Heaven, and a house full of animals.