What to Do After a School Shooting
Today’s parents in the United States are regularly confronted with the horror of yet another school shooting. Each time this happens, we feel angry and anguished, grieving the tragedy and overwhelmed by what this means for our own children. Our faith compels us to cry out against violence and evil. God promises to hear our lament, calling us to work for justice. Yet we grow weary with grief upon grief.
When we are tempted to despair at the state of the world or our own helplessness, here are four small steps we can take to do something in the face of gun violence in schools.
Pray for victims and their families. Pray for surviving students and staff. Pray for law enforcement and first responders. Pray for the surrounding community, their leaders and elected officials. Pray for students, teachers, and parents across the country who are anxious or grieving in the wake of this latest tragedy. Pray for God to show you where you are called in the ongoing work for justice and peace.
More ideas for prayer can be found here.
Talk with your children in age-appropriate ways about what they have heard about in the news. Ask their teachers how you can support them during this difficult time. Check in with people in your life who have lost loved ones to gun violence. Start a conversation with a friend or family member about how to address the complex issues surrounding school shootings—even (and especially) if you may disagree.
More ideas for talking can be found here.
Call your elected representatives to let them know you care about this issue as a parent and ask what policy measures they are working on to stop mass shootings. Contact your pastor to help organize a prayer vigil for victims of school shootings or add petitions to your community’s prayers this Sunday. Read a book to dive deeper into the issues than the news headlines. Research your church’s official position on measures to prevent gun violence.
Volunteer at a local school. Bring lunch or treats to your kids’ teachers, administrators, and staff to show your support for their work. Donate to grassroots efforts to support victims’ families. Set up a recurring monthly gift to a non-profit that works to stop gun violence. Donate blood. Organize a group of 30 friends to call your legislators one day a month.
Join the 4/4 effort for a day of collective action against school shootings. A day to remember what and whom we are FOR. A day to pray, talk, act, and give.
For more prayers & reflections after a school shooting: