The mass shooting that took place at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas yesterday has sickened me to the core, and seeing the faces of the victims that have been identified so far has completely broken my heart.

Photos provided by families of Victims
Photos provided by families of Victims

As a parent with children in elementary school, I am also terrified.

Yes, I am worried for the future safety of my kids, but more importantly, I have absolutely no clue how to ease my daughters' fears when they begin asking all the tough questions about what happened and why it happened.

When talking about the tragedy with co-workers this morning, one of them said it best, "we here in Illinois are disconnected from what happened in Texas, but we are not disaffected". So, the question now is, how do we cope in the face of such a terrifying tragedy?

Are All Schools in Illinois Required By Law to Conduct Active Shooter Drills?

That is the first question that popped into my mind yesterday. My daughters are very good about telling me about what happened during the day when they get home from school, and I don't remember them ever telling me about doing an active shooter drill before. I would like to think that means they have done the drills before but weren't scared enough to tell me about it, but what if they have no idea what an active shooter drill is?

I immediately hopped on Google to find out if Illinois schools are required to hold active shooter drills, and I found this answer from the Illinois General Assembly;

During each academic year, schools must conduct a law enforcement lockdown drill to address a school shooting incident. No later than 90 days after the first day of each school year, schools must conduct at least one law enforcement lockdown drill that addresses an active threat or an active shooter within a school building.

Does knowing that Illinois schools are required by law to hold active shooter drills with their students each year make me feel better? Not really. Primarily because it makes me upset.  I'm mad because this is a scary reality in our children's lives these days, and I'm really scared that I can't truly protect them from having to live through a situation like this.

How to Talk to Your Kids About the Uvalde, Texas Tragedy

No matter how much I wish I could, I can't avoid talking to my girls about the shooting that took place in Texas, but how much is too much information?

I came across an article where a licensed clinical psychologist and professor at Duke University Medical Center named Dr. Robin Gurtwitch told ABC News that the best thing parents can do in situations like this is to "Let them know that their school has plans in place to do everything to the best of their ability to make them safe". 

Now we parents have to figure out the best way to convey that message to our kids and to stress that we cannot live in fear.  We may not be able to explain or understand pure evil, but we definitely know how to love on our kids. That is what matters most. We will get through this...together.

See 20 Ways America Has Changed Since 9/11

For those of us who lived through 9/11, the day’s events will forever be emblazoned on our consciousnesses, a terrible tragedy we can’t, and won’t, forget. Now, two decades on, Stacker reflects back on the events of 9/11 and many of the ways the world has changed since then. Using information from news reports, government sources, and research centers, this is a list of 20 aspects of American life that were forever altered by the events of that day. From language to air travel to our handling of immigration and foreign policy, read on to see just how much life in the United States was affected by 9/11.

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