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Representing Victims of Mass Shootings starstarstarstarstar

When it comes to mass shootings, it’s important to prepare our children for a possible shooting. By teaching them about school shootings and other public shootings, they are more aware of news and events occurring around them. It also allows us to pay homage to children, teachers and others who have been killed as a result of this violence. Sadly, we live in a world where preparing for a mass shooting is normal and expected. By taking these preparations, there’s a better chance that lives will be saved if this unfortunate situation does occur.

Ways to Prepare Children for a Shooting

  • Run, Hide, Fight: The first thing to teach your child is to evacuate, find shelter and in the worst-case scenario, fight to save your life. Tell them that an escape route may not always be found, so instead look for a hiding place that is out of visibility.
  • See Something, Say Something: Not being aware of your surroundings could deter people from reporting suspicious activity.
  • Understand Protocol: By understanding the lockdown drill, a child knows what to do if a dangerous situation arises.
  • If they can run, run in a zig-zag: A moving target is harder to shoot than one that is stationary.
  • If they hide, hide behind something solid such as concrete: Avoid hiding behind things such as bathroom stalls or cabinets, but choose more solid structures.
  • When hiding, don’t lay flat on the floor: By staying on your hands and knees, it is easier to move away and also becomes less likely that vital organs will the target of a ricochet bullet.
  • Avoid hiding in boxed-in spaces: Bathrooms should be a last resort since there are usually no windows to escape from and nothing strong enough to hide behind that will stop a bullet.

How to Teach Children about School Shootings

Teaching children about shootings is difficult, no matter their age. According to experts, children under 8 don’t need to learn about the incidences unless it affects their family directly. There is no specific way to present the details to kids, and how to best approach it will depend on the age and temperament of the child. For younger kids, a simple, one sentence story is perfect, and focusing on the heroes of the story is recommended. For elementary age children, parents need to be prepared for the questions children will ask about the event. Also, do your best to protect them from seeing visuals on social media or on TV. For older children, it’s important to ask your child about the event and how they feel about it, being sure to show empathy and even asking if there

are any steps you and your child can take to make a difference. Leighton Law recommends contributing to the National Compassion Fund, which is administered by the National Center for Victims of Crime. The Fund provides support to victims of mass shootings through a single, trusted avenue for the public to donate 100% directly to the victims.

No matter their age, it is hard for children to process emotions when it comes to violence such as mass shootings, especially at a school. By teaching your child to be prepared for such an event, you’re doing the best job you can as a parent.

John Leighton, Esq., is a board certified personal injury trial lawyer and managing partner of Leighton Law with offices in Miami and Orlando. He represents seriously injured victims of negligence, sexual abuse, medical malpractice, violent crime, defective products and resort, travel, and vacation accidents. His lifelong passion is helping people who have had the worst thing happen in their lives.