'What are we doing to our children? Why do we do this to them? How can you take the masks off them, take the books from their libraries, & claim you've protected them?'
Like many who heard the news of yet another school shooting in the United States, one mother took to Twitter to express her fears and frustrations about sending children to school under such conditions. In a Twitter thread that struck a chord with many, writer and tutor Wren Wallis shined a light on the harsh reality of being a child in this country where the cost of education is often their health—and in some cases, their lives. "My baby is in third grade. She lugs a binder of Pokemon cards to school to swap them on the playground at recess. Her socks are always mismatched & she wears a dinosaur hoodie," Wallis tweeted.
These are 17 of the 19 children identified by loved ones from Tuesday's tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Officials now say all of the victims were in the same fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary School. INFO: https://t.co/I3DnXNz4MB pic.twitter.com/O91fkOVCGO— CBS Austin (@cbsaustin) May 25, 2022
"She's just started making her own lunches for school every morning (she's very proud) and although I walk her to school every day, she walks home by herself because she is big enough now. (School policy: 2nd graders are too young to walk alone, 3rd grade is okay.) (She's also very proud of that)," she continued. The concerned mother went on to share that although her daughter is growing up, trying to do everyday kid things like trading Pokemon cards and learning to pack her own lunch, her daughter also has to learn how to defend herself from the possibility that an adult might show up to her class with a firearm.
At least 19 children and two adults were killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, another mass shooting at a US school. Here are some of the deadliest K-12 school shootings since 1999. https://t.co/utvYnLjiKO pic.twitter.com/GCXvLybF7q— CNN (@CNN) May 25, 2022
"At school, they practice shooter drills. She has a plan of her own, she says, because she sits near the window: she'll just jump out the window. (Her classroom's on the second floor.) She has thought about this. They are made to think about this," Wallis shared. "She spent a year - part of 1st and part of 2nd grade - doing school remotely, via a computer screen, because of a pandemic. The kids went back to school & were made to wear masks & stay six feet apart & eat lunch at individual tables. That was scary but also annoying (to them)."
“Our country is paralyzed, not by fear, but by a gun lobby and a political party that have shown no willingness to act in any way that might help prevent these tragedies," former Pres. Obama says after elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. https://t.co/ZgulJTpjrP pic.twitter.com/oZuGvRjrmo— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) May 25, 2022
"Now they don't have to wear masks & can eat at group tables again, because some people raised a huge stink about masks traumatizing our kids. So instead, they just get COVID. One of her best friends had it last week [and] had to miss a birthday party and field trip. When I was putting kiddo to bed the night after the birthday party, she whispered to me, 'Is [friend] going to die?' She knows COVID is serious: I have Long COVID [and] we have an immunocompromised family member," she revealed. "No, I said, [friend] will be OK. And she was; she was back in school three days later. Because five days—not ten, not fourteen—is the rule now."
"Because of you, Sen. Cruz."— MSNBC (@MSNBC) May 25, 2022
Fred Guttenberg, who lost his daughter Jaime in the Parkland shooting, blasts Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for his inaction on gun legislation. pic.twitter.com/aMVVR5QXDL
Wallis pointed out that amid the relentless onslaughts on gun violence and everything that the pandemic put them through, children these days are dealing with a lot emotionally. "We send our children to school in an ongoing pandemic to practice in case a gunman enters their classroom and tries to murder them," she wrote. "My child, my heart, has been sent home early three times this semester because she's had an anxiety attack at school. She doesn't know why: she just Has Anxiety. 'I don't know what started it, Mom,' she says tearfully. 'I was just sitting at my desk & then I couldn't breathe.'"
Outside a courtroom where a trial for the Parkland school shooter is underway, Tom Hoyer said he’s in physical pain thinking of the families of the children killed in Texas.— The Associated Press (@AP) May 25, 2022
His 15-year-old son Luke was among the 17 people killed in Parkland in 2018. https://t.co/IjENdQCFef pic.twitter.com/LYXRn9KMRr
According to Education Week, 27 school shootings have taken place in America so far this year. Since 2018—when the organization first began tracking school shootings—119 such incidents have taken place. Wallis concluded her Twitter thread with a heartfelt plea to the nation's lawmakers. "What are we doing to our children? Why do we do this to them? How can you take the masks off them, take the books from their libraries, & claim you've protected them? What would it take to convince you to actually protect them?" she asked.