I gave my first speech concerning the creation of school violence books: The Bad Guys and Students Can Help Keep Schools Safe on May 11th. This is the information I shared at the Mom’s Demand Action Mother’s Day Rally in Denver May 11, 2013. It was the first time I had ever spoken on the steps of the State Capital building. The view was amazing.
I see many children in the group today, thank you all for coming. I want all of the parents to relax, my talk if G rated. I also want to thank Laura from Mom’s Demand Action for inviting me to speak today. I didn’t know this group existed until Thursday night when I began researching school violence and violence prevention on Facebook. Laura made a fast connection with me and I am thrilled to be here today. I am a children’s author who writes children’s servies books on personal safety for young children. My first book Some Parts are NOT for Sharing is a child abuse prevention book for children ages 0-7. It helps young children define; what is abuse. Anger is OKAY Violence is NOT helps children deal with anger and has a hidden domestic violence message. So, it was not a stretch for me to write about school violence. Since Christmas I have written two school safety books that I am dedicating to the Sandy Hook Community in Newton, CT. I did not watch any of the news coverage of the shootings. I have two elementary age daughters. I was afraid if I watched the coverage I would immediately move to a remote fishing village in Alaska. About a week after the shootings I went to lunch with a dear friend who watches a lot of news. I said to her, “I don’t want this to monopolize our conversation but I have two questions about Sandy Hook: 1. How did the shooter get into the school? 2. What was his connection to the school? She answered my questions, then we talked about Sandy Hook for 2 hours. This conversation changed me as a person, it changed my DNA. I felt utterly helpless and hopeless. A week later was Christmas Eve. I was alone, my daughter’s were with their father. I was lonely, missing my family, feeling depressed. Then I thought “Hey, wait, my kids come home on the 26th, in two days.” I immediately then thought of the parents and families who had lost loves ones at Sandy Hook. These children, mother’s, spouses would NEVER be coming home. NOT this Christmas, not next Christmas. I sat there with my mouth open for a few minutes staring at the wall. I’ve got to make more festive plans for this Christmas. Then I grabbed a pen and wrote the gun violence prevention book, Students Can Help Keep Schools Safe. The words flowed onto the page easily. I felt better, I felt like I was helping solve a problem that appeared unsolvable. On Christmas day I reread my text and knew I had to write a second book. The language was for older readers and would not be appropriate for Kindergartners. Then I wrote my second gun violence prevention book, The Bad Guys which is for younger students preschool to 3rd grade. Both books are set for a summer release date with West Bow Press. I am hoping in some small way that these books will keep our schools safer. In both books I am encouraging students to contact the main office if they see a strange person in the school. More importantly, I am instructing students to report threatening peer behavior. The gunman in most school shootings is a student. There are journal pages in the back of the book that students can log threats. Schools can easily discount one threat but multiple threats by multiple students will not be ignored, but investigated. I have also written a teacher’s guide that will help educators discuss this very difficult topic with students. My goal is to get these books into every elementary/middle school. My objective with this overwhelming project is to help prevent future gun violence. I want to say a word of gratitude to my oldest daughter. She was and still is my biggest supporter. She never said to me, “This is too large of a problem to write about, you can’t solve this, you are already too busy marketing your other books, where are you going to find time to do this?” She remained positive and has been my go to person. Sometimes it is best to have a child help you take the led on your project rather than a board of directors. This project was fully funded by Visa. I will hopefully start to repay these bills soon. I felt this topic was too important not to act upon. To do nothing would have been neglect on my part. I am accepting donations and any form of technical support is welcome. Together we are stronger than alone. Thank you for coming today. I believe as a group we can begin to make our schools safer classroom by classroom. Mom’s Demand Action Rally May 11, 2013 [email protected]