Gun control is the “it” topic these days due to the increased shootings. This week in Colorado, the gun control debate was going strong. There were more than 100 gun control supporters outside of the Capitol in Denver on Monday. Republicans argued that schools would be safer if school employees were authorized to have concealed weapons. Democrats won the first round of this debate to reject the guns-in-schools bill. Parents are divided on this issue. Will guns in school, make our children safer? Senate President John Morse, a former police chief, told reporters “I don’t see a magical solution.”
Although there may not be any magical solution for gun violence, Livestrong.com and the National Mental Health Association have some steps parents can take to help keep their child(ren) safe:
Livestrong.com suggests that you never leave a firearm unattended. Guns should always be unloaded until you are ready to shoot at the target range or when hunting. When children are present in a home, you should keep all guns stored in a locked cabinet. Teach children that if they find an unattended gun anywhere, they should not handle or touch it and should leave the area and notify an adult.
Your kids need to know and understand the reality of the danger that firearms present. This can be difficult with the many images in the media of guns and their use. These images can blur the line between fantasy and reality in the mind of a child. Talk to your children about guns and gun safety.
Empower children to take action regarding school safety. Encourage them to report specific incidents (such as bullying, threats or talk of suicide) and to develop problem solving and conflict resolution skills. Encourage older children to actively participate in student-run anti-violence programs.
Discuss the safety procedures that are in place at your child’s school. Explain why visitors sign in at the principal’s office or certain doors remain locked during the school day. Help your child understand that such precautions are in place to ensure his or her safety and stress the importance of adhering to school rules and policies.
Create safety plans with your child. Help identify which adults (a friendly secretary, trusted teacher or approachable administrator) your child can talk to if they feel threatened at school. Also ensure that your child knows how to reach you (or another family member or friend) in case of crisis during the school day. Remind your child that they can talk to you anytime they feel threatened.