‘My first reaction is I want to cry’ Local parents respond to Texas tragedy

WICOMICO, Co. –  “I don’t know what needs to be done, but it has to stop. We can’t afford to lose any more children.”
                                  “Are you safe at the park? Are you safe at the zoo? What’s next?”
                                  “Truthfully, my first reaction is I want to cry.”

Parents across Delmarva are still trying to grasp the recent headlines — “At least 21 dead after a mass shooting at a Texas elementary school.”
An incident that’s sparked a cry for help across social media and fear in homes across the US.

“School is one place that they should go that they know they are safe regardless of what’s happening in the outside world,” said Mary Wooding, a parent of 5.

Second Worst School Shooting in America

But it’s not just the shooting in Ulvade, Texas that has created worry. According to the Gun Violence Archive, Wednesday marks the 144th day of 2022, this shooting is the 212th mass shooting of the year.

A statistic that has parents like Amber Vitacco, who has a child starting Pre-k,  reconsidering her kid’s future education – and now debating homeschooling. “You have to weight the pros and cons between their safety and their social interaction, because they’re both important,” said Vitacco.

Wooding on the other hand doesn’t have to weight the options. “If I could go back in time my children would never be in the school system, I would definitely be homeschooling,” said Wooding.

Meaning Behind the Violence?

So why are these shootings happening so often? Is the location the issue?

Child Psychologist, Dr. Kathy Seifert, says no. She believes it starts at the root of the shooters trauma — and their lack of empathy.

“In my profession, this is preventable,” said Dr. Seifert. “We feel something, we feel bad even if we accidentally hurt someone, they don’t feel it so they don’t understand what’s the big deal.”

Dorchester and Worcester County Public Schools are now responding to the gunfire by placing additional resource officers in schools.

Is that enough?

“Children shouldn’t have to be taught to crawl under a desk, to crawl into a closet, to do any of that. They should be there to play, to get an education,” said Wooding. “I don’t have an answer and I think that’s the scariest thing, because there is no right answer,” said Vitacco.

Those who I spoke with say, it’s another prayer and a push for change.

“We need to be talking about the victims and their families and what they’re dealing with and how we support them as a community after witnessing such a great loss,” said Wooding.

Discussing Trauma

And for those of you who are parents, Dr. Seifert says you should prepare for yourselves to answer some tough questions from your kids.

Seifert says looking for symptoms of trauma in your kids is one of the first steps you can take in having the conversation.

Those symptoms include nightmares, trouble sleeping or eating, and isolation in their rooms.
Kids can also be nervous, jumpy at loud noises, or have a tough time dealing with their emotions.

“You need to look for those when they occur, and make sure that they get professional help. It is not going to go away by itself,” said Dr. Seifert.




Categories: Local News, Maryland