Yesterday, an 18-year-old gunman opened fire in a Texas elementary school leaving at least 19 children and one adult dead in his wake. The Robb Elementary school in Uvalde Texas is the latest in the uniquely American nightmare that is school shootings.
Ten years after the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, 25 years after the Columbine shooting, and four years after the Parkland shooting, at least 554 students have been shot down in their schools. Nothing substantive has been done in this time to fix this devastatingly broken system.
While there is no shortage of gun legislation brought to the halls of Congress every single year, and while there is a Democratic President committed to gun control, a House and Senate majority, and an ability to change the filibuster to pass laws, no law has passed. Our children are still in danger, still forced to practice “Code Red Alerts” or ALICE training because the sickening reality is that there is a non-zero chance an armed man could walk into their schools and murder them.
There is, of course, plenty that can be done to end these tragedies, by the federal government, by state legislatures, by those who walk the halls of them. In the meantime, parents and their kids, survivors in Uvalde, and those who have survived past mass shootings, all need help. What we can do is help those in need, those who are dealing with tragedy. What we can do is help our kids emotionally.
Reach out to mental health services
If you are feeling distressed, depressed, anxious, having trouble sleeping, or otherwise affected by yesterday’s tragedy, you can call or text the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Disaster Distress Helpline any time of day. Call them at 1-800-985-5990 for counseling. You can also text them at 741-741. (If you or a loved one is more comfortable speaking or texting in Spanish, press ‘2’ on the hotline for bilingual support, per NAMI.)
Those local to Uvalde can call NAMI Texas at 512-693-2000 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time or email firstname.lastname@example.org. They can be connected with services, resources and community support. There are also federal resources for helping your kids in the aftermath of a school shooting.
For parents looking for resources on how to talk with their kids, look to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s “Responding to a School Crisis” webpage. The site provides resources to parents and caregivers (as well as teachers) on how to respond to crises like school shootings. Similarly, if you’re looking for guidance on how to work through this with your kids, look to the Trauma, Violence, and School Shootings resource gathered by the National Resource Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence prevention. The resource is for parents (as well as other figures in children’s lives) whose kids are experiencing, or have experienced, trauma, per youth.gov.
If you have no idea where to begin talking to your kids about school shootings, taking an age-based approach might help. You can also read Fatherly’s advice on how to discuss shootings with your kids — no matter how inadequate it might feel in the face of tragedy.
Donate to the GoFundMe hub for survivors
If you would like to donate money to those in Uvalde, GoFundMe created a hub to allow donors to contribute money to verified charities and fundraisers.
Included in the hub is a fundraiser organized by VictimsFirst, a group comprised of survivors and family members affected by previous school shootings for those at Robb Elementary. VictimsFirst provides victims’ families with no-strings, lump-sum cash payments directly.
Other GoFundMe fundraisers include one for Irma Garcia, a 4th-grade teacher, wife, and mother of four kids who sacrificed her life trying to protect her students, a funeral for Xavier Martinez, a young boy who was murdered, a broader campaign by the Austin, Texas-based Los Verdes Supporter Group raising funds for all families affected at Robb Elementary.
Donate to Advocacy Groups Fighting for Gun Control
Though this is not the type of action that has an immediate impact — like helping pay for the funerals of those who were killed — one action to take that takes a stake in the future is by donating to advocacy groups that are fighting gun violence. Moms Demand Action, Everytown for Gun Safety, and Sandy Hook Promise are three vetted, responsible places to start.
Donate blood if you’re local
If you are in South Texas, including San Antonio, South Texas Blood and Tissue is holding an emergency blood drive today, Wednesday, May 25th, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. local time at the Herby Ham Activity Center.
University Health System is also encouraging locals to donate blood at their facility.
Volunteer Your Time
If you are an attorney, San Antonio Legal Services is asking Texas attorneys to provide pro bono services to families of the victims as they navigate insurance and family law obstacles in the future.
Texas House Representative Tony Gonzales asked for mental health professionals to volunteer their time to help Uvalde families by calling his office.