The Texas massacre at Uvalde Elementary School has prompted a change in parenting. Mass shootings continue in areas once thought to be safe and federal action to prevent future attacks is stalled.
The Uvalde tragedy left 19 students and 2 teachers dead. It happened the same month that shootings took place at a Dallas hair salon, a Dallas supermarket, and a Laguna Woods church.
There have been more mass shootings since then, including one at a Tulsa hospital. However, there are no prospects of passing new gun laws. Even after hearing the heartbreaking testimony of a young Uvalde survivor, Congress is still skeptical.
Some parents feel that they have to take action to protect their children because of the alarming nature of these shootings and the frequentity of them.
Tracy L.M. said, "To send my child to school every day and just cross my fingers every day?" Norton, who lives in East Islip (New York). "That's not the way to live."
Norton is one of many parents who are making changes, including switching to homeschooling and purchasing bulletproof backpacks.
She is a strong supporter of public schools. After the massacre at Uvalde and the shooting at Buffalo's supermarket, which left 10 people dead, Elizabeth was able to decide that her 8-year old daughter will be homeschooled.
Norton stated that Norton felt "pushed into a corner" and that there was no place for her daughter to be in public places for long periods of time.
She said, "If the federal government is serious about gun control, and if there's an effort to buy back the quantity of guns out there, then public school may be back in play for us."
Norton isn't the only one.
Brittney Lee Fox, Ogden, Utah, withdrew her two sons, Jayden, 8 and Dominic, 10, from school on the day of the Uvalde shooting in order to homeschool them. Although she plans to attend school board meetings in an effort to improve safety measures in public schools, she isn't optimistic that it will happen anytime soon.
She said that her sons were nervous about school safety when she spoke to them about the events at Robb Elementary School.
Fox stated that children feel helpless. Fox stated that children feel confused and they won't understand the concept no matter what we do.
The pandemic saw homeschooling boom, as families all over the country turned to it due to concerns about school closings and Covid spreading.
Historically school shootings have led a rise in homeschooling inquiries, according to Jeremy Newman (deputy director, Texas Home School Coalition), which advocates for and supports homeschooling families in Texas.
Uvalde was not an exception. Newman stated that Uvalde was not an exception.
He said safety is not the only reason families drop their children from public school. Peer pressure, drugs, and the content of the curriculum are all concerns.
He said that most parents were concerned about four to five things, with one of them pushing them over the edge.
Since the Uvalde shooting, bulletproof backpack sellers have experienced a boom in sales.
Owner Steve Naremore stated that TuffyPacks has experienced a 300-500 percent increase in its sales of bulletproof backpacks and bulletproof inserts.
Guard Dog Security has noticed an increase in bulletproof backpack sales from customers as well as national retailers who carry its products. Yasir Sheikh is the president and CEO of the company, but he refused to provide details on sales "outrageous for the victims and families" in Uvalde.
Both the company's products and the weapons they use in recent school shootings are stronger than the backpacks, making them controversial. Sheikh, who also offers personal defense products such as stun guns and pepper spray, denies this charge.
He said, "I would be happier if we didn’t have to deal school shootings, and it didn’t mean that bulletproof backpacks had to exist, that would be great."
Although school shootings are rare, there is a chance that a child will encounter an unlocked firearm at home. A study found that nearly 4.6 million children lived in households with unlocked guns and had a loaded gun.
Marjorie Sanfilippo is a professor in psychology at Eckerd College and the executive director for academic excellence. She has studied young children to see if they are better educated about firearm safety. She said that children have an insatiable curiosity and don't understand the consequences of having a gun.
Sanfilippo stated that "My research revealed that no amount education will be enough to overcome the curiosity of a child," especially if it is being manipulated by another child."
Experts recommend that parents check if there are guns in their home before inviting their children to play. Uvalde inspired many parents to share their tips via social media. The conversation can be awkward.
Sanfilippo advised that parents should not feel embarrassed to discuss their child with their children if they are uncomfortable.
"Say, "I don't know how my child would react if he discovered a gun." She said that she believed he would be very curious about it. Therefore, we make sure that he cannot access guns in any home he enters. "That way, you aren't saying anything negative about the parents."
Marc Zimmerman, codirector of the Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention at The University of Michigan, and codirector of National Center for School Safety, stated that it can be very worrying to raise children in an age of mass shootings.
He said that prevention is important. Parents, educators, and children can all help create a positive school environment so children are not bullied or isolated. Be vigilant, report any unusual behavior wherever you go with your child.
He said, "But make sure you continue living your life."