Pre-School Tours; Teaching Styles and Active Shooter Escape Plans

 Pictured - Allyson and her family

Pictured - Allyson and her family

By Allyson

After giving birth to our son, who is now almost three, my entire perspective changed on social issues. Safety and guns are front of mind as we look for an enriching learning environment for him.

During each school tour, one of our first questions is about what safety measures has the school taken to protect our children. Are all the doors locked? What is the escape route if someone comes into the school with a weapon? What steps do you take in an active shooter situation? Unfortunately, we live in a time when we cannot simply send our students to school. Now, teachers are expected to have escape plans, which are explained to us in detail. It is so scary to think that we must take these kinds of measures in order to keep our children safe, instead of focusing on learning.

These questions didn’t have to be asked by my parents when I was growing up—but in the new normal, as parents we have to ask about firearm storage when we send our children on play dates to a new friend’s house.

The shooting in Parkland, Florida, was a wake up call for me. I chose to join an organization of other parents who want to work for change in our communities. It’s a place where parents like myself actually feel we can make an impact rather than wait for our government to do what is right.  It is past time that we begin to look at our policies on gun safety and laws. We can take simple steps to limit access to semi-automatic and assault weapons and we can prevent deaths. Background checks and waiting periods should be a basic step before someone can purchase a gun. While our elected officials wait, our children continue to be at risk.

Each time I hear that there is a shooting, which is a daily occurance in the U.S., it breaks my heart. I can only imagine what it is like to be a parent who has to go to school—of all places— and find that their child did not make it out during an act of violence. A school should be a place of growing and learning, not fear. We must do better than this in America. We owe it to everyone to fight back with compassion and love. Where has our empathy and understanding gone? Why do we forget what happens in other parts of the country so quickly?

It is my hope that people can begin to understand that common sense gun laws could make a huge difference in preventing deaths and saving lives.  We don’t need to “take away all the guns,” however, we do need to make it more difficult for someone to so easily take another person’s life.

Teale Fox