Four Important Tips Regarding What to Do in An Active Shooter Event and What We Grandparents and Our Grandchildren’s Parents Can Begin To Do To Be Proactively Preventive Regarding School Shootings

The Uvalde school massacre has done this Grandma in.  I want to address two important tips we parents and grandparents need to know now regarding what to do in an active shooter event and two tips proactively preventative that we may act upon now.  These last two tips are not a panacea for the complex issues surrounding mass shooting events, but thoughts as to a beginning of bringing more kindness, inclusion, and humanity to our grandchildren’s lives.

As a grandmother, I am devastated by all of the children, and the families and the grandparents having to mourn the death of loved ones and innocent children. 

First, unfortunately, I personally know how it feels to wait to see if your grandchild is going to be a survivor of an active shooter event.

I received a call one school morning from my daughter that there was a possibility of an active shooter in my grandchild’s school. How did she find out? Our grandchild called her from his cellphone to tell her that he loved her and told her the school was in lockdown, his class was following all the protocols they had been prepared for in the circumstance of an active shooter on campus.

I literally stopped breathing.

His class was prepared to follow all the protocols for which they were prepared in this circumstance.  That alone hurts my heart.  We Boomers talk about how we had nuclear bomb drills and had to go under our desks and cover our heads.  How useless!  I only hope that the drills for active shooters are more effective for our beloved children and grandchildren.

Our son-in-law got into his car and raced to the school.  Every parent I know would do the same. 

Our son-in-law had the Police Scanner app by Guru Network Limited, Inc. and was monitoring what was happening at the school.

I do not think I could really breathe again for almost an hour. And I was getting updates because our son-in-law was listening to the police scanner.

I knew it was all clear from his listening to the police scanner before other parents and grandparents because of our smart son-in-law. After it was all clear, I could breathe, but the terror in the pit of my stomach remains.

TIP NUMBER ONE

Everyone in the family should download the Police Scanner app by Guru Network Limited, Inc. which has live breaking news.  Know how to use it. How awful is it that we have to.

Our grandson told us that his teacher was calm and immediately went into securing the classroom and putting the class in the safest position possible.  He said he could hear voices outside and a helicopter overhead.  Otherwise, he said it was like two hours before he was okay to know it was over and he felt safe.

My grandson has experienced what it feels like to go through an active shooter threat.  It hurts my heart to know that and know what that means for a child.

TIP NUMBER TWO

Second, as a judge, I personally had active shooter training and have documented, in a previous blog post, basics of active shooter training you should know.  As I said in the post,  [k]nowing active shooter protocol is not to cause fear, but rather to empower. When one knows what to expect and what to do, one has control, which is the opposite of terrorism.” I included tips on how to speak to grandchildren of all ages about terrorism.

Please share this with your family and friends.

Active Shooter Training and How to Talk to Grandchildren About Terrorism Are Things We Grandmas All Must Know

I just read an article in the Washington Post about a youngster who had been bullied and classmates refused to sign his yearbook and how others helped, “Classmate’s Wouldn’t Sign His yearbook, So Older Students stepped in. An Impromtu Swarm of Upperclassmen filled into the sixth grade class to sign his yearbook.,” by Sydney Page, June 2, 2022.  The article is accessible at this link, by the Editorial Staff of New7Trends.

The ending paragraphs are so important – for action by us grandparents and the parents, if possible, to help children feel and act with kindness, inclusion, and humanity.

“A lot of students are struggling with peer relationships and social skills,” said Brent Recman, chief executive at the Academy of Charter Schools. “It’s up to us to figure out how to help kids and families with it, but it’s a challenge faced by all schools right now.”

“It can be really tough to be a teenager,” he continued. “I was really impressed with how our students stepped up when they saw a peer in need.”

The article concludes with a quote from the child’s mother.  “It made me feel like there’s still hope,” she said.  “Not just for Brody, but for humanity.”

The June 2, 2020 New York Times had an article on the front page, “Seeking Clues Why Gunmen Are So Young: Most Recent Suspects Were 21 and Under,” by Glenn Thrush and Matt Richtel, which includes:

“They fit in a critical age range—roughly 15 to 25 – that law enforcement officials, researchers and policy experts consider a hazardous crossroads for young men, a period when they are in the throes of developmental changes and societal pressures that can turn them toward violence in general, and in the rarest cases, mass shootings.”

TIP NUMBER THREE: INDIVIDUALLY BE A MODEL OF HUMANITY AND KINDNESS AND INCLUSION AND PROMOTE SUCH WITH OUR GRANDCHILDREN

I sent the Washington Post article to our teenage grandchildren.  I suggested that they consider setting up a program in their schools where everyone signs everyone’s yearbooks, that it becomes a practice to include everyone with kindness.  This is just one example of kindnesses our grandchildren can promote.  Remember, each has community service hours to fulfill.  Why not create such a program or another inclusion program that addresses kindness.  Humanity starts with one person.

Our youngest grandchildren’s school has a policy that everyone in the class must be invited to birthday parties and special events if any of the members of the class are invited.  We can promote that policy with our families and, see tip number four, advocate it for our grandchildren’s classes and schools.

TIP NUMBER FOUR: CONSIDER SETTING UP OR JOINING A GRANDPARENTS COMMITTEE IN YOUR GRANDCHILDREN’S SCHOOL AND BECOME ACTIVE IN PROGRAMMING PROMOTING KINDNESS, INCLUSION AND HUMANITY

This Grandma joined the grandparents committee at our two youngest grandchildren’s school.  I am impressed with the grandparents who came before me who developed ideas for helping the school and helping the students.  They not only raise money for extras such as additional enrichment and programming in partnership with the teachers and administration, but also participate in programs for the grandparents and the grandchildren.  Before Covid, grandparents volunteered in school, and hopefully that can be again soon.  I sent the Washington Post article to the leaders of the grandparents committee and suggested a program where all the children sign each other’s yearbooks, to add to the school’s existing wonderful policies addressing issues of kindness, humanity and inclusion of all children.

CONCLUSION

My heart goes out to the families who are mourning their loved ones, beloved children and grandchildren lost in the latest school massacre and all the mass shootings.

We grandparents cannot stop school shootings or terrorist attacks.  We can hope we personally do not have to deal with this trauma, but even drills and false alarms are traumatic for us all.  I do not want to feel ever again that I cannot breathe because there is a possible active shooter event in a grandchild’s school.  I hope we all do what we can, individually and collectively, to address prevention through kindness, inclusion, and humanity.

We Boomer grandparents number in the tens of millions.  Let’s do something.

I am a grandmother of six grandchildren.   I have thought about what I personally can do, gave you my ideas, and hope you come up with some ideas too.  As I did, share them and ACT on them.

In the meantime, download that police scanner app and read the blog post on protecting yourself and your loved ones in case of an attack and explaining terror to your grandchildren.

With little joy,

Mema

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